Spreadsheets can do a lot more than just add and subtract columns of figures. With a little time and imagination, there are all sorts of fun, useful, and creative things you can do with a spreadsheet. Courtesy of a well known spreadsheet specialist  at The Excel Experts, here are 5 examples to get you started.

1 – Create a template to adjust a recipe to the number of servings desired

Say you’ve got the super-secret family recipe for beef stew, but it’s for a large batch. Sometimes, it’s easy to do the maths to adjust the recipe but not always. A simple template can be created that asks the original number of services, the original quantity, and the desired number of servings. Depending on which spreadsheet software you use, it may even return fractions instead of decimals.

2 – Calculate the number of days between two dates

This can be as simple as entering a date in one cell, a different date in another cell, then a formula that subtracts the older date from the later date. But it doesn’t end there. Using formulas like NetWorkDays() in Excel, you can calculate the number of workdays between two dates. Or, you can determine the exact date that a certain number of days is from a previous date.

3 – Create a loan calculator

Unless you’re a financial professional, it can be challenging to create an accurate calculator for amortized loans. Using built-in financial functions, it’s easy to create a spreadsheet that will calculate payments. You could even create it so that you can enter different principal, down payment, repayment periods, and interest rates, so you can see for yourself if you can afford the payment on a new home.

4 – Create a detailed list of favourite websites

Most, if not all, web browsers, allow you to create a favourites (bookmarks) list. But, aside from naming the link, you can’t really add much information. After a year or two, most people seem to wind up with a long list of favourites, most of which we have no idea why we saved the, By creating a table in your spreadsheet with different columns for different things you might want to record, you can make life that much easier. For example, a sheet with the column headings “Name”, “URL”, “Category”, and “Page Notes” If you want to save a favourite, open the spreadsheet, then copy the page URL to the URL column, then type in the other information. It would also make it easy to filter the list by categories, or any other information you record.

5 – Get a list of files on your computer

Most spreadsheet applications have a macro programming language, such as Visual Basic for Excel. With a bit of reading and experimenting, it’s not too hard to create a spreadsheet that will list the files on your computer. You can even have it use “wildcard” characters.

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