Friday reading: resources and inspiration for spreadsheet buffs

Here’s a collection of resources for you: a strange mix of advanced, esoteric and inspirational spreadsheet uses, showing how far some (mad)men and women push their spreadsheets. The list gets more light-hearted towards the bottom of the post!

Somehow I doubt Dan Bricklin would have envisioned all this when he invented the spreadsheet…

Spreadsheet programming

Functional programming in Excel from Felienne Hermans all about her research into treating Excel as programming language. Well worth a watch.

Building reusable blocks for spreadsheets, called “spreadlets”, from Jocelyn Ireson-Paine. An experiment in creating spreadsheet components you can insert into your spreadsheets, to calculate things you’d find hard to program yourself.

Why You Should Build A Business Dashboard Using Google Spreadsheets from David Hehenberger. How-to use Google Sheets as a backend database to power analytical dashboards. Love this, it’s right up my alley and similar to much of my own project and client work.

JS Charting with Google Sheets from Arthur Puszynski. In this article on the popular David Walsh blog, Arthur shows how to chart data from a publicly accessible google spreadsheet and create a dashboard using the JS Charting library.

Excel recently released a new Excel REST API, so you can integrate apps with your spreadsheets.

Famous spreadsheet errors


Reinhart, Rogoff, and the Excel Error That Changed History from Bloomberg. …”they accidentally excluded five rows from an average in their Microsoft Excel spreadsheet…”

A collection of spreadsheet horror stories from the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group.

What We Know About Spreadsheet Errors from Raymond R. Panko at the University of Hawaii (academic paper).

Spreadsheet Standards Review Board – an organization attempting to counter the lack of rigor in spreadsheet work by creating a robust set of standards and best practices. For example, here’s their recommendations for Sheet Titles. Just starting to dig into this resource myself, it looks promising.

Spreadsheets and Data Science?

Data Smart book from John Foreman. Learn data science principles and algorithms in Excel.

Introduction to R for Excel programmers.

Spreadsheet Thinking vs. Database Thinking from Robert Kosara.

Excel and big data from the Microsoft Office blog.

Spreadsheet Art

Excel-ing Math into MathArt from Devan Matthews. Some truly spectacular artistic visualizations created in Excel with scatter plots and lots of math. Or maths, if you’re outside the US.

Turn a digital photo into an Excel spreadsheet from Think Maths. An ingenious solution from Matt Parker to take the pixel scores from digital photos and put them into an Excel spreadsheet to see the image in Excel.

Stop-Motion Excel (Spreadsheet Animation) from Joe Penna. This is fun!

The art of collaboration: from Sheets to the streets

Read more on the Google Official blog.

Other links

Charts you wouldn’t even think possible in Excel!

You suck at Excel from Joel Spolsky:

Spreadsheets in Fantasy Sports from Fantasyland

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A good discussion of using spreadsheets to build models for predicting fantasy sports. (Link to Soundcloud.)

To finish:

Last Day Lecture Fun – “Learn Excel”

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