#0: Why Not Excel?

In many cases excel is the best tool for the job so why not use it? Rather than build a full database and/or interface, Excel is an easy and quick way to gather and analyse data.

Even though Excel is not a database in many organizations people store more data in spreadsheets than any other document type. It’s not the preferred method for IT professionals, but it works. People need to analyse and access data quickly, they know Excel and it’s usually already installed.

Although Excel is not a relational database it can solves many simple database problems. Only a small percentage of Excel spreadsheets reach the limits of Excel, but when they do, many should and do migrate to a database solution.

#1: So Really Why Not

  • If the data is spread across more than one excel document it’s almost certainly time to consider a database solution. If it’s spread across hundreds or thousands it’s time to consider a database to manage the spreadsheets themselves!
  • More than one user can’t update the information in a document at once. If there are more than two or three people regularly inputting data then a database will allow multiple users to make changes at the same time.
  • If the amount of data is unmanageable in spread sheet form. If the number of columns get much beyond 52 (AZ) then it can be hard to keep track. Adding rows usually isn’t a problem no matter how many there are, but changing and finding individual records can be very time consuming the more rows added.
  • If you want to collaborate across the internet and you don’t have Office365 or Excel 2013.