What do YOU think Excel is for?

Modnote: I said to drop this.
2 earlier modnotes.

That whole thread reminded me of trying to teach Beginning Computer classes.

(Yeah, I did that as penance for kicking somebody’s dog in a past life, I swear…)

On the first day I’d walk up to the board and draw a guy using a fork to try to pound in a screw. Then I’d write:
Use The Right Tool For The Right Job!

I don’t know how much is so much the absolute amount, as rather the idea that it’s a subscription service.

I’m not sure exactly whether I get $70 a year value out of the Office suite; we only use Excel and Word, with Word being the majority of that. Excel is pretty much reserved for fiddling around with stuff like my kids’ balances at the “Bank of Dad”, and things like the occasional calculation type work for building something/making something/converting units. Nothing that I need Excel for.

Word isn’t much different- mostly for writing the occasional letter, printing the occasional envelope, and stuff like that.

$70/year seems high for that, especially considering we don’t use Outlook, Powerpoint, etc… at home. And the idea that it’s $70/yr in perpetuity (or more if they raise the price) seems outrageous in that light.

I’m going to stick with my old-ass copy of Office 2013 until I can’t use it for what I want any longer, then see what’s available at that point. Since none is mission-critical, that may be a long while.

For personal use, I use it to keep my checkbook, keep track of bills and 401k balances and all that. You can also size the rows and columns to make your own graph paper and I’ve used that to create a scale drawing of my house.

In my work life, we can load about 30 years of bridge data and we have routines to compute deterioration models and we also create charts, trendlines, etc.

You play bridge at work and keep the scores for 30 years? That’s cool! :dark_sunglasses:
Drawing a house to scale is cool too. I would say you are on the lead in this thread so far. :smiley:

I see you’ve met my Mother in Law. :wink:

What you’re doing makes sense for your use case. Other than the known and widely exploited security vulnerabilities in now-ancient versions of Office.

You might consider checking out LibreOffice. It’s free, still supported last I checked, and strongly resembles the earlier pre-“fluent menu” versions of MS Office products. I have that on my aged MIL’s computer and she transitioned to it from from Word 2003 (?) with nil difficulty despite her ancient age.

I have & pay for Office 365. But I use every one of the apps in the suite almost every week. And one subscription is enough for every machine wife and I own. It’s $70 well-spent for our use cases.

for designing and implementing multidimensional relational databases

rounding decimals

pivot tables

Refer to this link https://boards.straightdope.com/t/what-spreadsheets-have-you-created-for-personal-use/790270 back from 2017.

I had compiled a list of 129 unique items from that list that I had students learning Excel comment on. Some of the more interesting ones were “Dates of my period” and “All women I’ve had crushes on, why, quality of relationship”.

I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to find other interesting examples from back then.

The most unusual thing I’ve used Excel for was as a go-between from an Access database VBA and a web site that output reports. Access at that time couldn’t read a web page very well, but Excel could get the report nicely formatted, save the sheet, then have Access slurp it in. The script would then alter the URL the Excel tab pointed to (not well documented at all how to do this in VBA from an external program, I finally pieced info from several sites to get this to work) and refresh the page, save it, etc until it was done cycling through all the detailed reports. The admins of the intranet site wouldn’t give me access to the data behind it so I had to scrape it programmatically so I could form my own reports. I’m sure they didn’t appreciate the hit that took on their web server so I introduced wait timers. It appears Access can now read URLs just as Excel could and import them, but I no longer need that functionality.

Ha! Fun fact: I met a friend’s mother-in-law, and “Linda?” It was my most challenging senior student from a semester before.

I do use a spreadsheet to score Feuds. I didn’t create it though! It has lots of fancy features that I don’t understand. It was created by a Doper years ago, and I’ve forgotten his name.

Recently I created a spreadsheet to compare streaming services - cost, channels, live TV, original content, contract, etc. It was helpful to decide what we required to “cut the cord.” I use them at work, too, mostly for lists. I’m not very proficient, though!

It was great for drawing a topological map of two things. A. My property. B. My kitchen floor.

Pivot tables aren’t the weirdest thing to use Excel for, they’re awesome. Got a table with tens of thousands of rows and want to know which share certain attributes? Make a pivot table and get it in seconds.

I did vote Excel as the “greatest computer program of all time” in my thread here:

I use it for a lot of things, usually mathy, but also stores of data - for example, I have this one spreadsheet that has the American box office totals from 1920-on for over 10,000 films. Probably should be in a database, but it was easier to steal the data and plop it in Excel, so c’est la vie.

I once created a simple Excel form where I had the math done on a separate tab and you would’ve thought I invented Jesus.

I’ve seen people use it as a word processor. Those people are stupid. I don’t know what else to say - I try to be kind, but if you are using a spreadsheet as a general word processor, that’s stupid. OTOH, I’ve used Excel to create lists which could’ve been created in a word processor, so that obviously was not a stupid use of it. :wink:

I’m in the IT department of a massive law firm. In the not-so-distant past, I ran the word processing department (which handled just about everything, including Excel work) of a similar firm.

Everyone thinks that pivot tables are a mysterious feature of Excel, and can be created and manipulated only by an elite priesthood of Excel masters, whereas in reality learning to use pivot tables takes maybe 15 minutes and makes life so much easier for people who need spreadsheets.

And by “spreadsheet,” I mean real spreadsheets, not the weird stuff I’ve been reading about in this thread. :rofl:

Wut? How do you draw with Excel?

Easy. First you adjust the column width so each cell is approximately square on your screen.

Then, using the cell border feature, start treating the grid as an electronic version of the 1/4" square-ruled “graph paper” we all used in middle & high school math for drawing graphs of difficult functions like

Y = X2 + 5

So to draw a line, just select the appropriate row or column and turn on the appropriate border. For rectangular rooms and buildings it’s a “wonderful” revelation. Or so said Einstein as he was asking me to fix a slight snag he’d run into.

Hint: the aspect ratio on screen and printed are not the same, and Einstein came to me to fix that problem. After he’d invested hours drawing his pictures.

Interesting! I’m a mechanical designer, and have dedicated software (Autocad, Pro/Engineer) for that. It would never have occurred to me to use Excel to draw.

Slightly OT but I have seen floor plans drawn up in Word, using table borders. It’s the same functionality as LSLGuy described for Excel. As an added benefit Word is pretty good about aspect ratio, since it’s supposed to be WYSIWYG.

~Max