excel 2010 tricksExcel is something that we tend to think of as a very business oriented piece of software. While we’re all familiar with Microsoft’s spreadsheet package, and while most of us have a basic idea of how to use it, it’s not something many of us would consider using in our free time.

But for many people this is a mistake. Excel is useful for businesses yes, but it’s also more generally an incredibly powerful piece of software with a wealth of different uses outside of the corporate world. And while it might carry unpleasant associations with work and business meetings, it can actually be quite rewarding to create a spreadsheet for your own personal use and that way organise some of the more chaotic parts of your life. Here we will look at some of the powerful uses for Excel you can benefit from at home, and perhaps you’ll consider loading it up on your laptop from time to time…

Storage

microsoft excel 2010If ever you have kept items in storage, then you’ll know how difficult it can be to find the things you want and to know which box you need to look in. Next time then, why not use a spreadsheet to keep track of where each item is located so that you can find it quickly and easily? This is actually the same system that warehouses use to keep track of thousands of different items at a time, and if it works for them, then of course it’s likely to work for you.

All you need is to come up with a system so that you can list boxes by category, and then you can start listing them in appropriate columns in your Excel sheet. That way, when you need to find anything you can either search the name of the item and quickly find which box it’s in, or you can search through the boxes by category and then look for the specific item within each one. This can also be a great way to organize a range of other things, from documents in filing cabinets to items you’re storing in your own home.

Finances

excel 2010 tipsMost people don’t think of organising their items when they think of spreadsheets, but rather of organising their finances – and of course this is a very good use for a spreadsheet at home if you’re trying to get out of debt, if you’re budgeting, or if you just want to keep better tabs on your money. By creating an accounting sheet you can ensure that you know precisely how much money is coming in and going out at any time, and what the biggest expenses are for you. Likewise you will then be able to create projections of your future finances based on your current ‘performance’ allowing you to see exactly how long it will take for you to afford that holiday, or precisely what changes you need to make in order to buy a new computer. Combine your Excel efforts with a cashbook, and this way you can also see precisely where it is that your money is going and prevent any ‘leaks’.

Making Decisions

The above description could help you to make serious decisions regarding your finances, but that’s not the only way you can make up your mind on important issues thanks to Excel. In fact, whether you’re choosing between properties, or choosing between holiday destinations, Excel can be the perfect tool to help you make up your mind.

The simple version here is to use Excel to create a pros and cons list, but we all know that these lists are overly simplistic. Better then is to create a pros and cons list with weightings and use formulas to calculate which gets the better overall score. Or if you want to use your spreadsheets the way that professional purchasers use them, you can set out to look for specific criteria in your options, give them a mark in each category, then create a total using weightings. That way you will be able to look at your spreadsheet, see the advantages of each option, and get a score at the end that should reflect the best decision.

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Excel is something that we tend to think of as a very business oriented piece of software. While we're all familiar with Microsoft's spreadsheet package, and while most of us have a basic idea of how to use it, it's not something many of us would consider using in...