Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Basic Spreadsheet Types
You can probably think of many more examples for this list.
Ironically, the versatility of spreadsheets is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s tempting to
try to use a spreadsheet for every problem that crops up. On the other hand, you’ll often be
spinning your wheels by trying to use a spreadsheet for a problem that’s better suited for a different
solution.
Basic Spreadsheet Types
In this section, I classify spreadsheets into several basic types to provide a better perspective on
how spreadsheet applications fit into the overall scheme of things. This is all quite arbitrary, of
course, and is based solely on my own experience. Moreover, the categories have quite a bit of
overlap, but they cover most of the spreadsheets that I’ve seen and developed.
My names for these categories are as follows:
h Quick-and-dirty
h For-your-eyes-only
h Single-user applications
h Spaghetti applications
h Utility applications
h Add-ins that contain worksheet functions
h Single-block budgets
h What-if models
h Data storage and access
h Database front ends
h Turnkey applications
I discuss each of these categories in the following sections.
Quick-and-dirty spreadsheets
This is probably the most common type of spreadsheet. Most of the spreadsheets in this category
are fairly small and are developed to quickly solve a problem or answer a question. Here’s an
example: You’re about to buy a new car, and you want to figure out your monthly payment for
various loan amounts. Or perhaps you need to generate a chart that shows your company’s sales
by month, so you quickly enter 12 values and whip out a chart, which you paste into your word
processor.
 
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