Today’s survey

In all your experience supporting users, which is the most mis-used application, Powerpoint, or Excel? Leave your comments below.

I used to think it was Powerpoint, but then I saw this Excel workbook, multiple sheets with somewhere in the area of 120 columns on each tracking various financial data going back 19 years, with no charts or graphs to make it easy to visualize, just column after column of raw data.

And yes, of course, I saw it because someone was trying to print it in an effort to make it easier to read. (Try to control your laughter.)

Tags: Excel, Misused Applications

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  1. Mike, I understand your shock and awe (haven’t heard THAT in a while, have you) over the grossly misused Excel spreadsheet. I’ve seen a few of those in my day. Shoot, I’ve probably created one or two of those in my day.

    But they’re aberrations compared to the abuse that occurs every day via PowerPoint. Think about it, with PowerPoint, you can make your text twirly in and out. You can have color – AND MAKE THE COLOR CHANGE. You can have the flashy, blinky thing going.

    I was in a Baptist church in Hong Kong last Sunday who had sermon notes (and hymn lyrics) on two video screens. I kid you not, the pastor had a crown of thorns descending onto the head of Jesus at one point of the sermon. For me, PowerPoint of any kind in a sermon is distracting, but this took distraction from the message to a whole new level!

    No, you can do some pretty ugly things with Excel. But you’ve really got to work to make a spreadsheet memorably bad. In PowerPoint, remarkable badness is but a mouse click or two away.



  2. spreadsheets. always spreadsheets. back in 1987 I took my first job outside of the college, as “the computer guy” for a hospital’s administration – the president, his vps and their staff. I was given a PC loaded up with applications. As a database guy, that’s the first thing I looked for. dBase II was there, as well as Base III+, Paradox and two others I don’t remember right now. WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 were also installed, of course. Where was all the data? In “databases” as they called them… Lotus 1-2-3 *.wks files. hundreds of them.

    there were five database programs and not one database file.

  3. While folks can do “cutesy” things in PowerPoint, it’s the spreadsheets that are misused. In particular, they are used as databases and usually do a poor job of that.

    It makes me groan to see more than a couple of tabs on the bottom for different pages of a spreadsheet. Unfortunately, Access is not accessible, and OpenOffice is still playing catch-up to provide a usable database.

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