Spreadsheet Best Practice

Consistency of Row and Column structures

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For most people, when building a spreadsheet they tend to treat each sheet on its own and start their workings in any row of column on each sheet.

However, by considering the consistency of row and column structures, your spreadsheets will be more robust and less error prone.

By consistency we mean that ALL the sheets are set up such that the columns and rows represent the same information. In the image below note that on both the Building 1 and Building 2 sheet, column I is year 3 and row 12 is the total rentals.

Consistency of Row and Column structures

It will also enable a number of features in Excel which you wouldn’t otherwise be able to use including:

  1. Making your ‘last minute’ changes to many sheets at the same time
  2. Consolidating sheets by simply moving the sheets in and out of the calculation area, and
  3. Spotting errors by simply looking at a formula.

Worksheets look the same- consistency of row and column structures

All the sheets of a workbook should look and feel the same. Rows and columns should contain the same type of information and line up in exactly the same way. Depending on how you prefer to build (in rows or columns) this means that across the workbook, columns for example, are used for the same time period or headings.

The video below shows the benefits of applying consistency of row and column structures in your spreadsheets.

To follow along go to 1.3 and 1.4