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A spreadsheet is a piece of software that is used to display and process data in a structured way.

Most often, they are used to process numbers, but they can be used for text, dates and all sorts of other data.

Spreadsheets are very common in business, as they are excellent for handling data such as sales, engineering or financial data.

On the screen, the working area of a spreadsheet looks like a grid. Each rectangle within the grid is called a 'cell'.
Cells are identified by their Column and Row position within the grid.

Formulas are used to perform calculations automatically on the data which has been entered.
Salesmen, teachers, scientists, market researchers and engineers use spreadsheets.

  • Easy to create instant calculations
    Using built in functions such as sum, average, count etc
  • Easy to change
    Adding, deleting, or changing the data in the cells that are being measured automatically updates the results
  • Keeps data organised efficiently.
    Large amounts of data can be organised with little effort once the spreadsheet has been created
  • Mistakes can be minimised
    Data validation routines can be incorporated into user inputs to minimise the possibility of the user entering an incorrect value
  • Easy to spot trends and highlight anomalies
    Visual representations of the data can also be included to help understand the data better, including graphs and charts, so that more time can be spent using the data instead of trying to figure it out.
  • Errors are difficult to spot
    Some of the automatic calculation functions have no way of checking for human errors.
    Results need to be thoroughly checked to make sure that they are accurate otherwise it can create serious data integrity issues.
  • Lost or Corrupt files
    Regular backups need to be made to ensure that valuable data can be restored in the event of files being corrupted or damaged.
  • Lack of Security
    Typically, spreadsheets are not that secure and therefore are at greater risk from hackers. Files containing financial or sensitive information should be password protected.

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