Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
This chapter discusses the question mark…the ways by which
Excel users can funnel source data into spreadsheet cells.
Common Types of Funnel Methods
Different funnel methods—different ways by which you fill
spreadsheet cells with data to be reported—can make the
difference between spreadsheet heaven and spreadsheet hell.
In my experience, Excel users commonly use five different methods
to populate their spreadsheets. Each method has its advantages
and disadvantages.
These five methods tend to differ with regard to the process that
updates Excel spreadsheets. I refer to these as push and pull .
A push process writes (copies) data to spreadsheet cells. Typically
with this approach you interact with some other program, giving it
the instructions needed to send data to Excel.
A pull process puts your worksheet in control. It uses worksheet
formulas to return data from local or central databases.
For spreadsheet users, pull is much more powerful and convenient
than push . With a pull approach, our spreadsheet formulas are in
control. When we want to look at a different set of data we change
the values of one or more cells (we specify a new month or a new
department, for example) and then recalculate. P ush programs
aren’t nearly so Excel-friendly.
Method 1: Build-From-Scratch
Spreadsheet Reporting
This has been the most common method of spreadsheet reporting
since I used the first spreadsheet program, VisiCalc, in 1979.
The idea is simple. First, you populate your spreadsheet with
unstructured data. You might enter the data manually. You might
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