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Linked – The First Rule of Microsoft Excel—Don’t Tell Anyone You’re Good at It

Are you great with Excel? Do you feel this way about it?

“If someone tells you that they ‘just have a few Excel sheets’ that they want help with, run the other way,” tweeted 32-year-old statistician Andrew Althouse. “Also, you may want to give them a fake phone number, possibly a fake name. It may be worth faking your own death, in extreme circumstances.”

Interestingly, in the eDiscovery world, there are plenty of reasons to be good at certain things in Excel. I’ve gotten quite used to linking and using VLookups to manipulate data, but those skills don’t necessarily translate to much of the typical office excel use. I’m rubbish when it comes to creating Pivot Tables or financial formulas, for example. I just don’t do it very often.

The problem, though, is not necessarily one of skills. Many times I’ve watched people use Excel for something that would be much better suited to an actual database program, even MS Access, and then tie themselves in knots trying to write formulas to make up for the lack of true database features in Excel. That’s usually where people run into problems in my experience.

But, I guess as long as there’s an Excel guru in the office to fix it, we’ll keep seeing that.


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