Data. It’s everywhere. Some 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day.
Whether it’s a business tracking leads or an individual monitoring their personal budget, we all need a safe place to store, organize, and analyze our data.
Sure, you could keep track of the numbers by hand — but why make things harder than they have to be? Most businesses opt for some spreadsheet software instead, for a variety of reasons.
In this article, you’ll find out why spreadsheets are beneficial, some common use cases for it, and the features that separate the best spreadsheet software platforms from the rest.
What is spreadsheet software?
A spreadsheet is an electronic document that uses columns and rows of cells to store and organize data. It can also calculate numerical data using formulas.
For example, if one cell contains “1.5,” and another has “3.5,” you can write a formula adding these together to produce the sum, 5, in another cell.
Spreadsheet software lets you create, save, and manage multiple spreadsheets.
What are some benefits of using spreadsheet software?
There are plenty of reasons people across industries — and even in their personal lives — love spreadsheets so much. Below, we explore the five most popular:
1. Storing large amounts of data
Forget writing down lots of data or keeping it in a word processor. Spreadsheets make it easy to enter your data, then tuck it away nice and neat.
You can format this data however you please with a few button clicks, so it’s more useful and understandable to users, too.
2. Performing calculations with ease
Mathematical formulas are an essential capability every good spreadsheet app provides.
Being able to perform mathematical calculations with large data sets is vital to saving time — especially if you know those nifty keyboard shortcuts — cutting down on human error, and making better decisions.
For example, if you need to sum up a set of data every month, you can create a formula that does so in your spreadsheet.
Then, just enter your data and the spreadsheet calculates the sum automatically. Each time you add a new entry, the cell with the formula updates accordingly.
Take a look at this example of a formula created in monday.com.
As you can see, this formula will automatically label a list item a certain way based on criteria set by the user.
3. Gaining insights into data
You can use the data in your spreadsheets to build tables, charts, and more. That way, you can see your data from various angles and gain deeper business insights.
4. Predicting the future
Spreadsheets are useful for forecasting future events.
For example, someone might make their monthly budget in a spreadsheet. With the right formulas in place, they can alter the dollar figure of one expense and see how it plays out across their budget.
Businesses can also use spreadsheets to create financial models and see how changing certain variables affects metrics like sales and profits.
5. Automation capabilities
You already know formulas can automate calculations.
Many spreadsheets let you build macros, too, which serve as sort of low-code workflow automations for small tasks.
Platforms like monday.com take this even further, allowing you to build full-blown workflow apps with little to no code. Plus, it’s often easier to build these apps than to create macros.
These are just some of the popular apps built in monday.com. You can build your own to suit your purposes, too.
Spreadsheet software: some common use cases
Most businesses use spreadsheets in some form, given all the benefits we just discussed.
And hey, people use them in their personal lives, too.
Here are some common use cases for spreadsheets out in the real world.
Budgeting is a favorite among spreadsheet users — especially for personal use.
Maybe you want to dine out more at the expense of your entertainment budget. Spreadsheet formulas will handle the math for you.
Just list your income and each of your expenses to make sure you’re living within your means and cut spending where necessary.
This Budget Tracker template is a good place to start.
You can modify this template slightly to suit any personal budgeting needs you may have.
Project management is a central function of any organization.
Since spreadsheets are built with reporting and analytics in mind, they’re the perfect tools to assist any project manager.
Mainly, you can create visualizations such as Gantt charts for better project scheduling and time management.
Barebones spreadsheets aren’t ideal for project management. It’s hard to collaborate without syncing, and tracking tasks or assigning them to teammates isn’t an easy feat.
A Work OS is a much better choice that can help you build an effective project management workflow.
With a spreadsheet tool, you can lay out your bustling schedule in a way that you understand best. It’s easy to move things around and make sure calendar items don’t overlap.
Plus, you can add notes to events, such as a message to remember to bring an item to an event.
Let’s take a look at college students, as another example. Between classes, clubs, sleep, and social activities, time management is of the utmost importance.
A schedule can help in the form of a spreadsheet.
Maybe you’re a college student who doesn’t even have the time or mental energy to build your schedule spreadsheet, though.
That’s fine — everything’s built for you when you use this Student Organizer template in monday.com.
What kinds of features should my spreadsheet software have?
Any spreadsheet application worth its salt should come with the basics. You know, data entry, formulas, and so on.
But if you want the best in spreadsheet software, don’t settle for the basics. Get a platform that either comes with or lets you build these helpful features.
Cloud-basedTo keep up today, you need the capability to flip open your spreadsheets from anywhere — which means you’ll need a spreadsheet application that runs in the cloud.
Lucky for you, Work OS platforms like monday.com are cloud-based.
If you’re on the go, monday.com has iOS and Android apps, too. You’ll never miss an important piece of data.
In most organizations, several people need access to the same data at once. Oftentimes, different users will make changes to spreadsheet data independently while working.
A survey conducted by FSN found that over half of respondents spend extra time checking numbers when spreadsheet changes are made.
Spreadsheet applications that support collaboration are incredibly helpful because they automatically sync changes between multiple users. You don’t need to worry about deleting vital data or overwriting files.
Since monday.com is a cloud-based Work OS, it syncs any changes you make in your spreadsheets in real-time.
Plus, monday.com gives you an Updates section to inform team members of these changes.
Reporting, analytics, and charts
Half the point of using spreadsheet software is to analyze your data with just a few clicks.
Consequently, any spreadsheet software you pick should be able to generate reports and create tables and charts.
Take a look at monday.com, for example. It comes with a suite of basic reporting and analytics features.
But for some organizations, the basics aren’t enough. Maybe you need an advanced graph or pivot table to look at data from multiple angles.
These organizations will find monday.com’s advanced reporting and analytics tools of great help.
Here’s an example of a monday.com pivot board.
Importing and exporting
If you’re moving from Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to monday.com, you can import your spreadsheets straight into monday.com.
Importing is as easy as dragging-and-dropping the file in from Excel, or linking your Google Drive account for Sheets.
monday.com creates a new board with the data structured exactly as you had it. Then, you can reap all the benefits of managing your spreadsheets with a Work OS.
You can export a spreadsheet from monday.com to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, too.
Wouldn’t it be nice to link your spreadsheets with your other software applications and streamline your operations?
Maybe you need to connect them to your accounting application or CRM.
You can if you pick a software platform that offers dozens of integrations, like monday.com does.
monday.com integrates with software for CRM, marketing, communications, software development, and more.
Here are a few favorites.
Go beyond basic spreadsheet software
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you can’t deny the utility of spreadsheets in both personal and professional capacities. They just make managing, sorting, and drawing conclusions from data that much easier.
But, if you want to go beyond the basic offerings, we’d recommend you opt for a Work OS. Advanced spreadsheet functionality is but one small thing you can do with these platforms.
If you’re looking for the easiest yet most sophisticated spreadsheet capabilities out there, give monday.com a try.