The Art of the Spreadsheet. Copyright 2008 John F. Raffensperger

1. Why is spreadsheet style important?
2. Make your spreadsheet read from left to right and top to bottom.
3. Omit unneeded bytes.
4. Omit unneeded sheets.
5. Organize blocks with care.
6. Attend to blank space.
7. Omit unneeded cells.
8. Format with caution.
9. Show all the information.
10. Spreadsheet errors.
11. How to audit a spreadsheet.
12. Suggestions for operations researchers.
13. Teaching the art of the spreadsheet.
Appendix. Checklist for a spreadsheet.

Appendix. Checklist for a spreadsheet

Try to put the spreadsheet on one sheet. Delete unused sheets.

Arcs of precedence should generally flow down and to the right.

Arrange the spreadsheet so each numeric cell is close to its dependents.

Align the main data type (e.g. years) downwards (e.g. one per row).

Align unrelated blocks vertically.

Eliminate spurious cells.

Eliminate dangling cells.

Put most of the spreadsheet in the default format.

Format constants differently than formulas.

Format numbers appropriately ($, %, etc.). Right justify numbers and their column headings. Label units (thousands, millions).

Label numeric cells. Use text that reads from left to right as much as reasonably possible.

Use the spell checker. Spell out acronyms and abbreviations. Use correct case.

Do not hide cells.

A perverse spreadsheet has one or more of: