On Spreadsheet Fun

At work yesterday I started working on a large-ish spreadsheet project.

It’s for an annual catalog. In one department, there’s four thousand lines of items to be arranged. Headers inserted. Item names cleaned up.

Four thousand lines.

It’s not tedious. Maybe a little mind-numbing at times.

It’s mostly in order. That’s the worst kind of spreadsheet, actually. The one that’s almost right. Because there’s no quick way to fix it, short of cutting-and-inserting the lines out of order.

As I was working on it, I thought to myself — there has to be some macro I could whip up, some macro that would take care of this completely. Press a key and it’s done.

Only, I couldn’t figure out any sort of algorithm. And as I worked my way down the spreadsheet, I saw how there really was no easy way of getting through this spreadsheet.

Just look at a line. Figure out what needed to be done to the line. Do that. Move down to the next line.

The decision tree would have been beyond a macro entirely.

Some tasks were easily enough done. A concatenation. If only everything else were that simple… 😆

Did I complete this four-thousand line monster yesterday?

Alas… I did not.

Another project — one of my primary responsibilities — landed on my desk, and that needed whipped into shape.

The irony? It’s a ten thousand line spreadsheet, and it’s something that I turn around in forty minutes. This four thousand line spreadsheet? No such luck.

I called it a day somewhere around line 2500.

I have other things to take care of in the morning, and then hopefully I’ll finish the rest of the spreadsheet by the end of the day. I feel like I’m on the downward trajectory.

I’d like to think so, anyway. 🙂

Published by Allyn

A writer, editor, journalist, sometimes coder, occasional historian, and all-around scholar, Allyn Gibson is the writer for Diamond Comic Distributors' monthly PREVIEWS catalog, used by comic book shops and throughout the comics industry, and the editor for its monthly order forms. In his over ten years in the industry, Allyn has interviewed comics creators and pop culture celebrities, covered conventions, analyzed industry revenue trends, and written copy for comics, toys, and other pop culture merchandise. Allyn is also known for his short fiction (including the Star Trek story "Make-Believe,"the Doctor Who short story "The Spindle of Necessity," and the ReDeus story "The Ginger Kid"). Allyn has been blogging regularly with WordPress since 2004.

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