77+ Important Real-world Uses of Spreadsheets in Business & Life

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uses of spreadsheets

Electronic spreadsheets revolutionized every single industry under the sun.

From Salesforce to Asana, most of the tools businesses rely on today to run their operations stem from the simple – yet powerful – concept of a spreadsheet.

To show our appreciation for spreadsheets, the tool that shaped our lives in so many ways, we created this massive article exploring the 70+ most common uses of spreadsheets in business and life.

1. Visualize Your Data

Data visualization is crucial to quickly identify trends or patterns in your data.

This can be done in numerous ways – from colorful Gantt charts to dynamic dashboards.

As an alternative to using data visualization tools, professionals have been using spreadsheet software like Excel or Google Sheets to get the job done.

2. Inventory Management

Another common use for spreadsheets is inventory management.

This involves tracking the quantity of each item in your inventory, as well as its cost and selling price. This information can then be used to calculate the total value of your inventory at any given moment.

3. Organizational Budgeting

Budgeting is another important use for spreadsheets.

This involves tracking your income and expenses so that you can see where your money is going.

This information can then be used to create a data-driven budget to improve your business outcomes.

4. Using Your Spreadsheet as a CRM System

Another common use for spreadsheets is as a CRM system.

CRM stands for “customer relationship management” and involves tracking information about your customers, such as their name and contact details. This can then be used to generate reports on how much money each customer spends or who makes up the bulk of your customer base.

Using a spreadsheet as a CRM system is a great way to keep track of your customers’ information without investing in an expensive CRM system.

5. Project Management

Project management spreadsheets are handy for businesses that have a lot of ongoing projects or a large number of employees working in different departments.

They allow you to keep everyone accountable by making sure they’re staying up-to-date on their progress and deadlines.

This involves tracking the progress of individual projects and identifying how they relate to one another. This information can then be used to make adjustments or prioritize tasks if necessary.

6. Accounting & Bookkeeping

Accounting and bookkeeping are an inevitable part of running any business.

This involves tracking your income and expenses and the amount of money you have in the bank.

This information can then be used to generate reports on your expenditures or assess whether or not you need a loan from a financial institution.

7. Statistical Analysis

Statistical analysis is a complex process that can be difficult to do by hand.

This is where spreadsheets come in handy. They allow you to quickly and easily perform calculations on large data sets.

This information can be used in various ways, from identifying trends in your data to predicting future outcomes.

8. A Calendar

One of the most common uses for spreadsheets is as a calendar.

A spreadsheet calendar is especially useful if you have a busy schedule and need to keep track of a lot of appointments.

It can help you stay organized and ensure that you don’t miss any important meetings.

9. Running Your Payroll

Running your payroll is an important part of being in business.

This involves collecting and submitting information about how much money you owe each employee, when they get paid, any deductions that are made from their salary (such as income tax or insurance), and other relevant details.

When it comes to running payroll using a spreadsheet, the sky’s the limit in terms of how many different calculations you can perform.

10. SEO

From keyword research to competitor analysis, spreadsheets power the SEO industry that helps organizations optimize their digital assets for search engines.

This involves tracking data about your website and the websites of your competitors to see how they’re performing.

It can help you identify which keywords are most relevant for ranking on search engines, what content is popular and getting shared online, or which strategies work best in terms of generating traffic from organic search.

11. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the practice of creating and sharing content in order to attract and retain customers.

This content can take many different forms, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, or social media updates.

When it comes to content marketing, spreadsheets can be a great tool for organizing your ideas and ensuring that you have all of the relevant data at your fingertips.

For example, you could track how many blog posts you’ve written in a month, how many social media followers you have, or the amount of traffic that your website is receiving.

12. Personal Finance & Household Budgeting

Personal finance and household budgeting is an inevitable part of being a responsible adult.

This involves tracking your income, expenses, assets (such as bank savings), liabilities (any debt you currently have), or any other relevant financial details that apply to you.

A spreadsheet can be a great way to keep track of all this information in one place. This can help you stay organized and make sure that you’re always on top of your finances.

13. Developing Proprietary Tools

From simple add-ins to complex custom-built applications, spreadsheets are the foundation of many proprietary business tools.

14. Account-based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategic approach to marketing that focuses on identifying and targeting specific key accounts.

This involves building relationships with decision-makers using personalization as opposed to the traditional spray-and-pray approach.

A spreadsheet can be a great tool for tracking all of the relevant information about your target accounts.

15. Lead Generation

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting potential customers into actual customers.

This can involve things like creating landing pages, collecting contact information, and running lead generation campaigns.

A spreadsheet can be a great tool for tracking all of the relevant information about your leads to get the most value out of them.

16. Outreach & Digital PR

Outreach and digital PR is a process that involves reaching out to media outlets, influencers, or bloggers.

From pitching story ideas to sending press releases for announcements about new products/services or upcoming events, digital PR is a numbers game.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for tracking all of the relevant information about your outreach targets, making it easier to manage the outreach process.

17. Data Analysis

what is the purpose of spreadsheets

Data analysis is the process of examining data in order to draw conclusions about it.

This can involve anything from sorting and filtering data to calculating the X bar or sums.

Spreadsheets are a great tool for data analysis because they allow you to easily perform all of these operations on large amounts of data.

18. Invoicing

Invoicing is a simple process that involves creating an invoice for the goods or services you provided to another person.

A spreadsheet can be a great tool for keeping track of all the relevant information about your invoices, helping to make sure that you’re getting paid on time.

19. Business Valuation

Business valuation is a process that involves determining the value of a business in dollars and cents.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for business valuation because it makes it easy to organize and analyze all of the corporate assets in one place.

21. Candidate Sourcing & Recruiting

Spreadsheets can help recruiters and talent acquisition specialists find the best candidates for their open positions.

This can involve things like creating candidate lists based on specific criteria, using keyword searches to find resumes in a database of potential applicants, or other similar activities designed to help recruiters/talent acquisition specialists source talent.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool because it makes it easy to sort through large numbers of candidates. This can help recruiters find the best candidates for their open positions in a shorter amount of time.

22. Employee Management

Employee management is the process of overseeing the activities of employees, ensuring that they’re performing their duties in a satisfactory manner, and taking any necessary disciplinary action if needed.

A spreadsheet can be a great way to manage all of your employees’ tasks and workload.

23. An HRIS System

An HRIS (Human Resources Information System) is a tool that allows companies to store, access, and analyze all information related to an organization’s human resources.

For those operating on a shoestring budget, a spreadsheet can be a substitute for HRIS systems because it allows you to easily organize data in one place instead of multiple documents or spreadsheets.

This means that you can quickly and easily find the information you need when making decisions about your organization’s human resources.

23. Forecasting & Predictive Modeling

Forecasting and predictive modeling are forms of data analytics that involve using historical data to predict future trends.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for forecasting outcomes because it allows you to operate with large volumes of data – which is a prerequisite for making accurate predictions that move the needle.

24. Market Research & Analysis

Market research and analysis is the process of gathering information about a particular market in order to make informed decisions.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for market research because it makes it easy to organize data into different categories, empowering you to identify patterns and trends.

This can help you make more informed decisions about where to allocate your resources in order to achieve the best results.

25. Investment Tracking

Spreadsheets can be a great way to track your investments to track their performance over time.

This can involve things like tracking the purchase price of each investment, the current value, and any dividends or interest that has been paid out.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool because it consolidates all of this information in one place. You’ll be able to see how your investments are performing at a glance instead of having to sift through multiple documents or spreadsheets looking for the information you need.

26. Financial Calculations

Spreadsheets can be a great way to perform complex financial calculations that might otherwise require the use of complicated accounting software.

This makes a spreadsheet a valuable tool because it allows you to complete these types of tasks quickly and easily – without requiring any specialized knowledge or training.

27. Task Management

Task management is the process of organizing and managing your tasks in a way that makes them easy to manage.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool because it allows you to quickly organize data into specific categories, making it easier for you to see what needs to get done at any given time.

This will help ensure that nothing falls through the cracks while you’re trying to manage a busy workload.

28. Goal Planning

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for goal planning because it allows you to visualize your progress, providing you with deeper insights into potential areas of improvement.

This makes it easier to see what steps you need to take in order to reach your stated goals.

29. Weight Loss Tracking

A spreadsheet can be a great way to track your weight loss progress over time.

This can involve tracking your starting weight, current weight, and the amount of weight you’ve lost so far.

30. Cryptocurrency Portfolio Tracking

As a highly volatile asset class, it’s important to keep track of your cryptocurrency portfolio so that you can make fast decisions about when to buy and sell your tokens and NFTs.

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for tracking your cryptocurrency portfolio because it allows you to quickly and easily organize data into different categories for additional data insights.

31. Data Consolidation

Data consolidation involves taking data from multiple sources in one place using the same data format.

A spreadsheet is just what the doctor ordered for the task at hand – which makes it easier for everyone involved to access and use this data.

32. Quality Improvement (QI) Initiatives

Quality improvement initiatives are designed to identify areas of opportunity where you can improve quality and efficiency.

How do you know that your proposed initiative can actually make a positive difference?

By leveraging data analysis tools, you can back your ideas with hard data to elevate your organization.

33. Due Diligence

Due diligence is the process of performing a thorough investigation to ensure that you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision.

By leveraging the data analysis tools offered by Excel and Google Sheets, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) can help answer critical questions in an efficient manner for better decision-making.

34. A Digital Portfolio

Building a website takes up too much time – especially if you’re getting started.

So starting with a beautifully-formatted spreadsheet in Google Sheets is a great makeshift alternative.

36. An Online Gradebook for Teachers

Teachers can use spreadsheets to create an online grade book for their classes.

This will allow them to track student progress and performance over time. This is a great way to help identify areas of improvement so you can help your students reach their full potential.

37. Stock & Cryptocurrency Price Tracking

A spreadsheet can be a great way to track the price of stocks and cryptocurrencies over time – as well as whether there’s a strong buying or selling pressure.

This will help you stay informed about how your investments are performing and allow you to make fast decisions when it comes to buying or selling your assets.

38. Social Media & Influencer Marketing

From content publishing schedules to relationship management, spreadsheets can help social media managers keep track of all their important metrics.

This will allow you to make data-driven decisions about the success (or failure) of your social media campaigns.

39. Sales Tracking

Can you imagine trying to keep track of your daily sales without a spreadsheet?

This would be nearly impossible, which is why using tools like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets can help business owners stay organized and on top of their game.

40. Cost-Volume-Profit (CVP) Analysis

A spreadsheet can be an important tool for conducting CVP analysis, which is a method designed to help managers understand the costs associated with producing different levels of output.

This will allow you to make informed decisions about how best to allocate resources to find new ways to positively impact your bottom line.

41. Workforce Planning

A spreadsheet can be used to help managers plan for future workforce needs.

This will allow you to forecast future recruiting campaigns and make sure that your business is adequately staffed when the demand for your products or services increases.

42. Digital Art Creation

Think that spreadsheets are only for crunching the numbers? Then think again. The picture above was actually created in Excel by a Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi:

This is absolutely mind-blowing.

43. Machine Learning

Machine learning is a process where computers learn how to identify patterns in data without being explicitly programmed to do so.

Using built-in functions, you can craft complex formulas to build simple machine learning models to uncover insights that you wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.

44. A Loan Amortization Calculator

You can use a spreadsheet to create an automated loan amortization calculator for your business.

This will allow you to determine what the total payment is over time, as well as how long it takes before the loan has been fully paid off.

45. Contact Management

Another area where spreadsheets can be incredibly useful is in contact management.

Having your contact information stored in one place will make your life much easier when trying to manage your professional network.

46. Client Management

From mom-and-pop shops to large businesses, many businesses need to master the art of managing multiple clients at once.

With a spreadsheet, you can create custom templates to keep track of all your relationships.

47. A Non-profit Financial Statement

Spreadsheets are also great for creating non-profit financial statements.

This will allow you to get a full picture of where the organization’s money comes from, what expenses have been incurred, and how much is left over at any given time to maintain full transparency.

48. A Construction Estimate

If you’re in the construction industry, you can use spreadsheets to create detailed construction estimates for your clients.

By doing this, you will be able to give them a more accurate idea of how much their project is going to cost to avoid any potential issues down the road.

49. Time Tracking

Time tracking is another task that can be easily handled with a spreadsheet.

Track how many hours have been spent on different tasks throughout the week to manage your time more effectively.

50. Keeping Track of Medical Records

When it comes to medical records, spreadsheets are very useful for keeping track of everything you might need.

By creating a table with dates and information about different ailments or treatments laid out in rows and columns, you will be able to keep your health care providers well-informed at all times.

52. Wedding Budgeting

Wedding budgeting can be a daunting task, but with the help of a spreadsheet, it can become much easier.

By creating a table that includes all of your expected expenses and then tracking how much you have spent as the wedding approaches, you will be able to stay on top of your budget without any last-minute surprises.

53. Tithing & Offering Tracking for Church Members

Many churches rely on tithes and offerings for their financial well-being.

This is why it’s important to track who has given what at any given time, the task you can pull off with a spreadsheet that documents the date of each donation and how much money was donated.

54. Customer Complaint Tracking

If you’re in charge of a business, then it’s important to keep track of any customer complaints.

Browsing through a spreadsheet that includes the customer’s name, the date of the complaint, and a brief summary of what happened can help you to identify any patterns or problems that might need to be addressed.

By doing this, you will be able to quickly and easily address underlying issues within your organization before they become too big of a problem.

55. Logistics

If you’re running a business that has anything to do with logistics, then spreadsheets can be incredibly important.

By creating a table of information about your trucks and employees alongside the different tasks they need to handle each day, you will have all the necessary data at your fingertips when it comes time for planning or making changes on the fly.

56. Mapping out Your Family Tree

Creating a family tree can be a challenging task – well, not with spreadsheets.

By including information about each relative in addition to their relation to you, you will be able to keep track of your family history with ease.

57. Tracking Expiration Dates

purposes of spreadsheets

Unless you live in the wild, then you have a lot of things in your house that have expiration dates.

Instead of constantly having to remember when each item expires, create a spreadsheet that includes all of the items in your home and their corresponding expiration dates.

This will allow you to quickly and easily know which items need to be replaced or disposed of.

58. Sales Commission Calculations

When it comes to sales commissions, a spreadsheet is everything you need to keep an eye on your salespeople.

By creating a table with all your sales data, you will be able to accurately distribute commission checks without any problems.

59. A Time Card

If you’re working at a job that requires hours to be tracked, then creating a spreadsheet with the date and time spent on each task can help you keep track of your day.

This will allow you to quickly see how much time is being spent on different tasks throughout the week without any problems.

60. Crafting a Business Plan

Creating a business plan can be difficult, but it becomes much easier with the help of a spreadsheet.

By analyzing data about your business using a spreadsheet, you will be able to create a well-informed plan that has a high chance of succeeding.

61. A Call Log

If you’re in customer service, then it’s important to keep track of all the calls you receive.

By creating a spreadsheet that includes the date, time, and subject of each call, you will be able to quickly reference past conversations with customers and resolve any issues they might have.

This can help to improve your business’s overall customer service and make your customer base happier.

62. Creating a Workout Plan

If you’re trying to get in shape, then creating a workout plan can be a great way to do it.

By including data about the exercises you need to do – as well as how many repetitions and sets you should do – you will be able to create a customized workout plan that is perfect for your needs.

63. Class Scheduling

For busy teachers and professors, you can use a spreadsheet to keep track of class schedules and assignments.

By including data about each student, such as their name and project due dates, you will be able to create an easy-to-read schedule that makes it much easier for students to plan around your busy courses.

64. Password Management

Keeping track of all your passwords can be a challenging task.

By creating a spreadsheet that includes the username and password for every website or app, you can keep track of everything with ease so that you don’t forget your login information.

65. Rental Property Management

If you own rental property, then it can be difficult to make sure everything runs smoothly.

By creating a spreadsheet with data about your tenants along with information about each expense (like repair costs), it will become much easier for you to keep track of all expenses related to managing your tenants.

66. Status Reports

Status reports are an important part of any business, and they can be easily created with the help of a spreadsheet.

This will make it much easier for your boss or clients to see how your projects are progressing.

67. Shift Schedules

Creating a shift schedule can be difficult, especially if you work at a busy restaurant or retail store.

Armed with a spreadsheet, you will be able to easily create a schedule that covers all of your employees’ shifts and avoid any overlaps.

68. A Calorie Calculator

If you’re trying to lose weight, then creating a calorie calculator can be a great way to do it.

Counting your calorie intake helps you stay on top of your diet.

69. Daily, Weekly, Monthly, & Annual Schedules

Keeping track of your daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks can be difficult.

By creating a spreadsheet that includes data about each task (such as the date it needs to be completed by), you will be able to easily see what still needs to be done and when.

70. A Balance Sheet

If you own a business, then creating a balance sheet can be an important part of understanding your financial situation.

Spreadsheets allow you to do just that.

71. Writing a Diary

You can even use a spreadsheet to keep track of your thoughts and feelings!

Create a spreadsheet to journal your days and understand yourself on a deeper level.

72. A Kindness Calendar

Similarly, you can also use a spreadsheet to keep track of your acts of kindness.

73. An Executive Summary

A great way to prepare for an important meeting is by creating an executive summary.

A spreadsheet is a great tool for putting a short summary to drive important messages across.

74. Organizational Charts

Organizational charts can be difficult to create, but Excel and Google Sheets are great tools to create them easily.

75. A Debt Snowball Calculator

If you’re trying to get out of debt, then using a debt snowball calculator can be a great way to do it.

Use a spreadsheet to keep track of your debt payments to accelerate the process of becoming debt-free.

76. Data Dashboards

If you’re in a management position, then creating advanced data dashboards can provide that high-level overview of your operation to always stay on top of things.

Google Sheets and Excel make it possible to create a stunning dashboard in just a few steps by leveraging the power of spreadsheets.

77. Business Process Automation

With a little bit of coding, you can use spreadsheets to automate certain business processes.

This will save you time and energy in the long run, save costs, and eliminate human error.

Final Thoughts: Uses of Spreadsheets in Business & Life

There are many different ways that spreadsheets can be used in business and life.

By understanding the most important uses of spreadsheets, you will be able to utilize them to their fullest potential.

Whether you’re trying to get organized, keep track of your finances, or analyze data, a spreadsheet can help!

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