International Spreadsheet Day

Posted : October 18, 2023 -

Wishing you a happy International Spreadsheet Day!

October 17th marks a special day for analysts.  So much so it probably should be a bank holiday.  It’s a day to honour the unsung hero of Information departments across the country.  The backbone, the workhorse, the perpetual engine of analyst teams.  I’m talking about the GOAT of analyst tools, I’m talking about Excel and International Spreadsheet Day.  Not since Atlas, has something held up and supported so much.  Whether you want to create a database, write a report, undertake statistical analysis, or perform a simple multiplication, Excel has your back.  It’s the Swiss Army Knife, the James Milner, the 200° oven setting.  All your needs catered for.  Like a begging dog while you’re sat eating, it waits expectantly as you run that SQL script and click Copy with Headers.  It’s not fussy, go ahead, throw in that half-baked output.  It will sort those formats out for you, find and replace values, and do some counts. Not to mention do all the things you forgot to put in your SQL script with a few handy formulas, which you’ll never remember to do the next time you run it.

Speaking of handy formulas, we all have a favourite don’t we.  That one to count unique values, the working days one, the if within an if within an if.  I think we can all agree the God Tier formula is VLOOKUP right? Is there anything it can’t do?  Spot the difference, matching pairs, hide and seek.  It can cover all Excel interpretations of children’s games.  Do let us know what your favourite formula is.  Maybe we can arrange an AphA Excel Formula Battle Royale to decide the ultimate winner one day.

On this day of celebration, we must mention the function that rules all functions, the go to tool for any quick analysis.  Whether you are trying to carry a sofa upstairs or sum values it’s important to PIVOT!!  Raise a glass this International Spreadsheet Day in tribute to every bit of information that has ever been conveyed in a pivot table and every decision that has been made from the numbers within its calming blue table headers.  Nothing exudes as much confidence as copy and pasting a pivot table into an email, accompanied with a sentence proudly describing your findings. Surely they won’t ask what that #N/A means right.

To finish with a bit of history about International Spreadsheet Day.  It was founded in 2010 and October 17th was chosen as the day to mark the same day the first spreadsheet for personal computers, VisiCalc, was released back in 1979.  Anybody old enough to use that?  Excel was first released on Mac in September 1985, with the Windows version following two years later.  Almost 40 years of unwavering service to analytics.  We need to remember to mark that anniversary at the 2025 AphA Conference.  Maybe it can be the theme of the event.  Keep your high-tech tools to yourself, I want my Excel.  It may not be perfect, but… yeah

I would genuinely like to see an AphA event dedicated to admiring people’s incredible spreadsheets.  Almost like a classic car meet, we can gather in a car park of some pub with our laptops as we huddle round and comment on the macros and indexing on show.  If no one’s up for that, I guess we could just do it on Teams.  If you’re interested let us know.

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