Feedback is occasionally reminded of a colleague who, when tasked with collating data in a table, borrowed a ruler and an A3 sheet of paper and returned after a couple of hours with a beautiful hand-drawn spreadsheet.
Why didn’t you do it straight in Microsoft Excel, we asked. Well, our colleague informed us, Excel is all well and good for making data look pretty, but what if you want to perform calculations? In those situations, they went on, shaking their head at our naivete, the software is absolutely useless.
After about six months of long division and half a tonne of printer paper, it turned out that this opinion had been arrived at in error. This same colleague will now happily inform you that, should large-scale data manipulation be your aim, Excel takes some beating.
There are – as all regular Excel users will know – multiple things with which the platform struggles. It is unable to recognise the zero at the start of international phone numbers, for instance, and it is obsessed with rewriting numbers as dates no matter what they actually are.