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Spreadsheets Defined
messy if you go it alone. But if you need to know how much each salesperson earned
each month , as in Figure 1–1, well, that’s a job for Excel.
Figure 1–1. Try that one with a calculator!
And it’s worth learning how to do it.
Spreadsheets Defined
But we haven’t quite answered the question of what a spreadsheet is. So here goes. A
spreadsheet is a program that emulates, but far surpasses, those vast, green, lined
ledgers on which accountants and bookkeepers used to enter columns and rows of
numbers. Because spreadsheets work electronically, of course, they can do a great
many more things with their data than any ledger could do with its handwritten entries.
And the spreadsheet “ledger” is far vaster than the hard copy version (see Figure 1–2).
Figure 1–2. A spreadsheet (in actuality, just part of one)
In fact, this figure shows only a very small fraction of the whole ledger.
A calculator also works electronically, but here too a spreadsheet has got it beat, and by
a mile. Enter a number into the slender calculator readout and all you’ll be able to see is
one number. Add a number to it and the second will replace the first on the screen—
that’s it.
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