It is possible to add incredibly elaborate formulas into 1 spreadsheet cell. My advice: don’t. All my spreadsheet basically rely on simple +, -, *, / formulas that have 2 inputs. Each step in the calculation is clearly labeled, nicely rounded, with pretty formatting.

  • You can spot and trace errors easily

  • You can copy things easily

  • You can change things easily (add more inputs, years, etc.)

  • You can remember easily what yo did 6 weeks ago

Yes, your spreadsheets will become a lot biger, and yes, there will be a lot of repetition as you pull numbers down in new cells, instead of adding the reference directly in the formula. But it is worth it.

I see similar things happening now on the world of coding, where programmers use incredibly dense and clever code. I find it actually much harder to read and understand. And I don’t think it makes any difference to the efficiency of a program, at least when it is compiled, where the compiler strips any excess code.

Cover image by Marco Bianchetti on Unsplash

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