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Old 10-18-2017, 03:31 PM
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Default Most Inappropriate Use of Spreadsheet

The topic of inappropriate spreadsheet use kicked off a big discussion in the European Spreadsheet Risks Interest Group, but it seems to have devolved into wanting to get a good definition of spreadsheet. So let's not go down that route.

What the most inappropriate use of a spreadsheet you've seen?

In my own case, it was something I did -- a Monte Carlo model for a lifecycle mutual fund. I really shouldn't have done it (at least I didn't use RAND()...and that's about the only good thing I can say about it), but there ya go. It led to further stupidity on my part, when I embedded the results into a Word document, unknowingly. I know it now. That's about the dumbest thing I've ever done in a professional setting.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:31 PM
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I've done some silly stuff in Excel -- like the Sierpinski fractal:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/i0x00hlwzw...ngle.xlsx?dl=0

but that was just a stunt from boredom.
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:39 PM
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Back in the day, I saw a lot of memos written in spreadsheets. Nobody knew how to use word processing but the secretaries. (That says how long ago it was.)
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Old 10-18-2017, 03:56 PM
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I have seen a guy who used a spreadsheet to keep track of each of the numbers he put into a printing calculator along with the total from the calculator so that he could then later go back and readd all the number (using the calculator) and make sure he got the same total.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMO View Post
Back in the day, I saw a lot of memos written in spreadsheets. Nobody knew how to use word processing but the secretaries. (That says how long ago it was.)
I've used Excel to make nice tables, because I hate making tables in Word.

Not recently, because now I've got editors who make the tables for me in the format our style guide requires.
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Old 10-18-2017, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMO View Post
Back in the day, I saw a lot of memos written in spreadsheets. Nobody knew how to use word processing but the secretaries. (That says how long ago it was.)
I use excel to write memos all the time. I use them for rate filings that I do annually, when I have to embed numbers into the wording. I use formulas for some of the text.

e.g. ="The credibility weighted loss ratio for "&A1&" is "&text(a2,"0.0%")&"."

It's cumbersome but only the first time, but it's better than searching a word doc for all the numbers to change and accidentally missing one.
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:00 PM
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I've made some really unwieldy excel models over the years. Upwards of 250MB, take forever to calculate, have more splits than anyone even asked for. These mainly happen when a book gets inherited from analyst to analyst, each one adding to the Frankenstein when zhe owns it. But to be fair I have created some monsters all on my own as well. In some cases, it was important enough to pull more of the model calculations back into SAS and do it the right way but usually it's not worth the effort for process improvement when you have new things to do.

This is probably not a very interesting post for anyone but my postcount isn't going to increase itself
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Childish Gambino View Post
I've made some really unwieldy excel models over the years. Upwards of 250MB, take forever to calculate, have more splits than anyone even asked for. These mainly happen when a book gets inherited from analyst to analyst, each one adding to the Frankenstein when zhe owns it. But to be fair I have created some monsters all on my own as well. In some cases, it was important enough to pull more of the model calculations back into SAS and do it the right way but usually it's not worth the effort for process improvement when you have new things to do.

This is probably not a very interesting post for anyone but my postcount isn't going to increase itself
At my first job we had to do quarterly reporting. Someone wrote macros, which I inherited, and just kept using them. It took me about three days to run them all, we had a separate PC set up just for these reports.

Right around the time I left, we hired a consulting shop to automate it all. No idea how that worked out.
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Old 10-18-2017, 06:35 PM
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not inappropriate, but i have a ton of pet peeves for spreadsheets i inherit. Much of these are formatting related. most of those i have documented in the excel helpdesk thread.
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:07 PM
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Merge cells to centering text.

Also, I worked with a guy who would have a column of numbers, add them manually on the calculator, then hardcode the answer. I think he didn't trust the calculations or some nonsense.
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