You Can Pay Me Now . . .
You think in spreadsheets, don't you?
—A CFO, overheard remarking to one of his more imaginative financial analysts, c. 1987 (i.e., about the time that spreadsheets began to see widespread use)
If you're like most people tasked with presenting lots of information, your biggest challenge is time. Moreover, the time you spend organizing and presenting your information (i.e., doing quantation) is typically at the end of a long project, after you've done the hard work of collecting and analyzing the data, and when the pressure on you is most acute. This chapter and Chapter 6 will help you make the most of this time by showing you how to use Excel faster and more efficiently in two different ways. The tips in this chapter will help you save time by developing habits that make the work go faster each and every time you use Excel. The tips in Chapter 6 will help you save time by enabling you (or others who use your documents) to quickly resume working when you (or they) return to your spreadsheets sometime later. You'll be amazed at how using these tips and making them a habit will naturally translate into clear and effective quantation.
Developing effective spreadsheet habits is no different from learning how to play the saxophone proficiently or mastering a tennis serve. The secret is practice, practice, practice. As sports coaches like to say, you must develop “muscle memory” so that you can do a task well, every time, and under every circumstance. ...