Organising and Designing Quantitative Data

Quantitative data

3. Choosing the right tools

3.1 Spreadsheets

Examples: Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, Numbers (Mac), Google Docs Spreadsheets

Advantages: the real strengths of spreadsheet software lie in analysing data rather than in storing and managing it. They are easy to set up, enter data, run calculations, create graphs etc. So, if your data is suitable for storing in a spreadsheet, you may not need any further tools.

Disadvantages: spreadsheets are simple 'flat' tables and they soon become unwieldy for large or complex datasets. They are better at handling numbers than words. By default, they often make assumptions about data formats (eg for dates) that are less appropriate for historical data than for modern financial data (for which they were primarily intended).

All of these spreadsheet tools are proprietary software and you will need to convert the data for preservation purposes.