11 Unique Uses for Excel at Home

Microsoft Excel is presented to most users as a business tool, not something they would use in their everyday lives, and that’s a shame, because the power of the spreadsheet program goes far beyond just manipulating numbers. Here are some smart things you can do with Excel around the house:

keep score – Whenever you have a game that lasts longer than one night (my husband and I have had some epically long Boggle competitions), Excel is exactly the right tool to keep track of the results, not just the spreadsheet format It easily keeps the numbers where they belong, but when the game is finally over, you can print a line graph showing your progress toward victory mapped right on top of your partner’s progress toward final defeat.

Collection Tracking -I’m a huge fan of collectibles, whether it’s a geek trading card game or a more serious philatelic pursuit. Excel gives you the ability to list not only the quantities of various items, but also the qualities, and makes sorting by quality as easy as “Sort by ‘Mint/New/Used'”.

Planning – Excel spreadsheets are excellent programmers. For example: scheduling your kids’ homework, color-coding it so they don’t have excuses for not knowing what their homework is, and actually printing the sheets and posting them on the fridge with a marker nearby for easy marking. Excel makes it easy.

Organizing your spice rack – My husband and I have one of those revolving spice racks that holds 10 bottles per side on all four sides. When we realized we didn’t particularly care about “pizza seasoning” because we always mixed our own spices, we discarded half the spices on the shelf and then made an Excel spreadsheet that listed all the spices and spice mixes which we used most often. , hide the rows that contained the ones we use the least, and alphabetize the remaining 40 and alphabetize them on the shelf. We keep the spreadsheet in case there is any confusion about what is supposed to be where.

budget – Obviously, Excel is a great tool for keeping track of your household budget. Tagging of expenses with tags such as “food (home)”, “food (out)”, “entertainment”, “clothes”, etc. makes it easy to not only sort by those values, but also create charts that show you how much of your monthly money is going to places that could be cut in the blink of an eye.

School projects – Right when I graduated from college, my husband used Excel to graph various science projects. With Excel’s ability to reference other sheets in formulas, even very complex information can be neatly summarized on the first sheet of a multi-sheet data matrix.

purchase decisions – When you have choices like trying to decide where to buy vitamins (where each store sells different amounts of pills at different prices and in different strengths), you basically MUST have Excel to make the most informed purchasing decision. . There is no other way to sort so much data.

food diaries – When you’re on a diet, whether you’re tracking calories, carbs, or fat grams, being able to put the data in one consistent and organized place is key. Excel gives you that place, as well as tools to easily summarize your daily totals and chart your progress over time.

Make a channel guide – My husband and I switched to digital cable a while ago, and the number of channels we had to deal with was phenomenal. By putting them all into Excel, color-coding them based on the approximate genre each channel consisted of, and highlighting the ones we watched the most, we were able to put together our favorites list without losing track of the more obscure channels along the way.

Comparison of conditioners – I once had a favorite conditioner, and then they changed the formula and it stopped working for me. The solution? I tried a dozen different conditioners, put all the ingredients from each bottle into Excel, and then removed the ingredients from each bottle that didn’t work until I had a small list of ingredients that were shared among the few bottles that did work. Then I went and found the least expensive conditioner that shared those ingredients, and now I have a new favorite conditioner.

camping trip planning – When you have a limited number of spaces and need to make sure everything goes smoothly, Excel is a great tool. List everything you need, where you’ll be able to put it, and print two copies, one in alphabetical order so you can mark it and make sure you have it all before you leave the house, and one ordered by the “where is” column so you can find anything. efficiently once you’ve hit the road.

Of course, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other uses for Excel around the house; this is just scratching the surface. If you have hobbies like playing poker, Excel’s hypergeometric distribution function can tell you the chance of getting a particular card in your next draw. If you’re into gardening, Excel can log temperature data from the past few years and give you an idea of ​​when it’s safe to plant what. The possibilities are endless.

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