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Microsoft Excel is such a versatile tool that it's easy to create complex worksheets. Sometimes, those worksheets can be so complex that is difficult to find the data you're looking for. In this lesson, I'll demonstrate some strategies to make your worksheets easier to understand and maintain. One of the first techniques you should use is limiting each worksheet to the data you absolutely need for the calculations on that worksheet. If the data isn't part of the calculation, it shouldn't be on the worksheet. Also, you'll find that it's very easy to create crowded worksheets that make it hard to find specific items.
For example, on this worksheet, I have information for two loans, a construction loan where a company is building a manufacturing facility, and also the automation loan, which is to build the equipment that's going to part of the construction facility. The information is all thrown together. It's scrambled. It's almost impossible to tell which data goes with which loan. Here's one example, just find a method that works for you and stay consistent with it. What I did was divide my worksheet into two areas, one for the Construction Loan, one for the Automation Loan, and within each of those areas, I have the loan terms, the Principal, the Rate, and the Term.
The term is expressed in years. So, I have those separate from the Monthly Payment and you'll notice that I followed the same structure here with the Automation Loan. If you like, you can also use color to distinguish between formula inputs and formula outputs. So, in this case we have the Principal, Rate, and Term. If I wanted to highlight those, I could do it in yellow so they stand out, I'll do the same over here.
The Monthly Payment is a formula output. So, I'll select those cells and I'll just make them a neutral gray color. So it's easy to read it as an answer for the formula, and it's also easy to distinguish it from the formula's inputs. If you follow these design practices, you'll create worksheets that are much easier for you and your co-workers to understand and work with for years to come.
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