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Spreadsheet Quality

Spreadsheet Design Concepts Series

Modular blocks

A 'block' is a area of cells surrounded by empty cells, that performs some analysis

Spreadsheet architecture is not very hierarchical, unlike much of the data they are used to analyse. A single cell could be considered the smallest unit of execution. These can (and should where appropriate) be grouped into logical blocks. A block should generally have similar data types, or similar formulas. Colour can be used to differentiate, as can a blank row and column. Empty cell borders are preferred because they allow use of current area and current region features.

It should be possible to understand a single block without reference to others, and ideally the formulas will be similar enough to make copy and pasting simple and reliable. Having inconsistent formulas scattered within a block creates a real risk of inadvertent overwriting. The quickest and easiest way to check all formulas in a block are consistent is to copy one cell/row/column over the others - that will cause problems if certain cells have a special inconsistent formula. Future maintainers are likely to do this, so plan ahead and use similar formulas where possible - and big highlights for special cases.


Upcoming Events:

25 January 2012 - UK Excel Developer Conference - London

Products for sale:


Office 2007 FileSearch replacement logo

New information about the missing FileSearch feature in Office 2007 and details of our pragmatic solution (Current price GBP 30.00)


worksheet password remover logo

Instant Excel worksheet protection remover and password recovery (Current price GBP 15.00)

Classic Ribbon Tab

classic ribbon for office 2007 logo

Add Excel 97/2000/2002/2003 compatible menu structure to Excel 2007
(Current Price GBP 10.00)


Products coming soon:

Link Manager

(Find and control external links in Excel Workbooks)

Due by Q1 2111.

XLAnalyst Pro

(Excel VBA based spreadsheet auditing tool)

Due before the end of 2111.

This page was last reviewed on December 21, 2011

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