May 21

Spreadsheet Guidelines and Best Practices

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Today, I found this journal article, The role of OR [Operations Research] specialists in ‘do it yourself’ spreadsheet development, from the European Journal of Operational Research, by John S Edwards, Paul N Finlay, John M Wilson. The article outlines 20 Guidelines for Spreadsheet Development and 21 Best Practices Points, which I excerpt below.

Guidelines for Spreadsheet Development

1 s2.0 S0377221799003318 gr2
Fig. 2. Guidelines for spreadsheet development.

Best Practices for Spreadsheet Development

1 s2.0 S0377221799003318 gr3
Fig. 3. Best Practices Points. 
My favorite point is #14 from the list of Best Practices: 

Never input the same piece of data more than once.
This rule reminds me of the 17th rule of composition from the Elements of Style: “Omit needless words.” Perhaps Best Practice-point #14 can be rewritten as “Omit needless data.” 
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Figure 2 and Figure 3, from John S Edwards, Paul N Finlay, John M Wilson, The role of OR specialists in ‘do it yourself’ spreadsheet development, European Journal of Operational Research, Volume 127, Issue 1, 16 November 2000, Pages 14-27, ISSN 0377-2217, 10.1016/S0377-2217(99)00331-8.

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