How-To: Use Spreadsheets to Organize Your Office

Let’s make this as simple as possible: if you are not using a spreadsheet to help manage your office or business, you are making a huge mistake. We understand that the thought of a spreadsheet–the thought of even turning on Microsoft Excel–makes you want to curl up in a ball in the corner and start gently sucking on your thumb. Well, enough of that crying! Spreadsheets are nothing to be afraid of! In fact, after you are initiated into all the power they possess, you will wonder why you didn’t make friends with the green monster long ago! Without further ado, let’s talk a bit about all the things a spreadsheet system can do to make your office more organized and your life happier.

Organizing Your Tasks

And here you thought spreadsheets were only good for crunching numbers! Absolutely not. Spreadsheets can be used for a variety of functions that have nothing to do with accounting or budgets. Making a “to-do” list is just one of the great things a spreadsheet can help you with. You might still be stuck in the old ways of making a “things to do” list. Sticking little post-it notes all over the place, or filling a notebook up with items to be done.

There is a better way. All you have to do is use the first row to make headings that spell out all the tasks you need to get done. You can then use the columns to organize and separate these tasks into categories, orders of importance, and so on. In this way, the list becomes interactive and gives you a lot more freedom to manage things in an efficient way. Of course, if you still want some handy ways to keep little notes for yourself, Fellowes makes some very interesting monitor organizers that can help keep you from swamping your computer area with notes.

Keep Track of Your Passwords

Are you one of those people who has a hundred different passwords for different sites on the internet, and various programs you use on your desktop? If so, a spreadsheet can be an easy way to keep track of all those passwords. Even if you are a person that tries to basically use the same username and password for everything, you will likely run into problems with trying to implement this.

Certain sites require certain combinations of numbers and letters, some have length requirements, and with all of these variations, you are likely to have at least a few different passwords and usernames out there. Create a spreadsheet and use the headings to write Website (or software program title), Username, and Password and then your information will be there for you when you need it.

You can even password protect your spreadsheet, so that prying eyes won’t have access to all of your sensitive information. Of course, then the catch-22 arrives. Where will you store the password for your spreadsheet? But that opens up a field of paradox we are not quite ready to delve into, so let’s just move on, shall we?


A spreadsheet can also be a great way for you to keep track of customer data. Perhaps you have been thinking about sending out a mailing list, either through snail mail or through email. These lists can be a superb way to drive traffic to your website, and increase business for your office. Using a spreadsheet, you can keep easy track of all of your customers’ information, such as their mailing address, the type of product they’ve bought from you in the past, and their email info. With modern spreadsheets, you can even create hyperlinks, so that it will be possible for you to open up and send email directly from a click of your spreadsheet!

If you have been afraid to open up your spreadsheet program because of the mathematical connotations, be afraid no more. What we have talked about is only a small sample of the things you can do with these powerful processors. Take the time to play with your spreadsheet program today, and you’ll find that they aren’t as complicated as you might have thought. If you have trouble, there are plenty of tutorials on the web that will help you get the basics down pat. Once you’ve achieved this, you’ll be able to use your spreadsheet program to do just about anything you can think of. Don’t let it sit there and collect virtual dust any longer!

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