Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 6: Restricting Access by Logon

Moving into the second half of this Spreadsheets vs Database contest we look at how to restrict user access by using logins and setting access levels. That is, allowing certain people to see certain things, but not others.

This is about keeping our more sensitive information secure and private, such as payroll or customer information.  In addition, restricting access based on a user’s logon priviledges can also be helpful in keeping software simple to use as the user is not presented with too many options at once.

Round 6: Restricting Access by User Logon Priviledges


restrict-access-by-login-priviledgeWithin Microsoft Excel it is possible to set a password for the entire workbook (or file).  Using that in combination with the individual cell properties it is possible to make certain cells read-only, therefore blocking the user from making any alterations to that cell.

You can also hide columns, rows and worksheets with a workbook.  This means that you can hide certain aspects of the spreadsheet. However, with the single password you can undo all these preventative measures and make hidden elements visible again.Read More »Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 6: Restricting Access by Logon

Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 5: Cut’n’Paste Errors

As we reach half-way in this Spreadsheets vs Databases 10 round bout, we look at the perennial favourite, Cut’n’Paste Errors.  These are when a user cuts and pastes data from one place to another and loses something vital along the way, or just moves it to somewhere unsuitable.

We are all familiar with the headline news caused by spreadsheet horror stories.  Should this be an easy round for databases?Read More »Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 5: Cut’n’Paste Errors

Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 4: Business Intelligence

The Free Dictionary defines Business Intelligence as ‘.. a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business purposes.’  It goes on to say that Business Intelligence  ‘..can handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities.’

So, how do Spreadsheets and Databases measure up when looking into Business Intelligence and the ability to identify new trends and direction for the business?  Spreadsheets vs databases moves on to round four…Read More »Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 4: Business Intelligence

Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 3: Instant Reporting

In the third round of this comparison of Spreadsheets and Databases we look at Instant Reporting.

Computers can compile information into useful outputs, like invoices, and insightful reports if we feed it the correct data.  Which of our two contenders will come out on top?



non-instant-reportingWith Microsoft Office, Excel can give you pretty graphs which you can tinker with for what seems like hours of pure pre-presentation pleasure.  But, it can be very time-consuming if you have to pull data in from several different sources to generate the report you need.  There is also the worry about the accuracy and age of the data.  Because there are so many manual steps required there is also a much greater possibility of human error creeping in.Read More »Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 3: Instant Reporting

Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 2: Task Automation

Continuing our examination of which is more useful in the office, spreadsheets or databases, we look at task automation.One of the benefits of computers in the modern workplace is that they can automate many dull, repetitive tasks and complete them in seconds.  This makes a business more productive and efficient and allows staff to concentrate on creative, value-adding activities.

So, which one is better at it, spreadsheets or databases?

Round 2: Task Automation


task-not-automatedI think we have probably all used spreadsheets to do some calculations at some point, perhaps adding up a column of numbers or something like that.  So, Excel can do some calculation for simple things like that.  How does it fair with more complex things like, printing out a payment reminder?  How about printing out all your payment reminders?  I realise that is a lot more complicated than just adding up some numbers, but it is a real day-to-day task which is important but time-consuming.  Well, with Excel we can automate things a bit more than just doing sums by using macros.  Read More »Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 2: Task Automation

Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 1: Multi-User

The two heavyweights in day-to-day office life are spreadsheets and databases. Most of the software we all use which isn’t a spreadsheet is based on a database.  Accounting software, an online shop and your CRM are all database-related programs.

Many businesses still rely heavily on spreadsheets to help them run the day-to-day.  Others are convinced that databases help them be more productive, efficient and creative. We thought we should see how these two match up against each other by examining 10 of the most important ways they can help or hinder your day at work.  Seconds out…

In the first round we look at the multi-user capabilities of each.  How easy is it for more than one person to work at the same time?

ROUND 1: Multi-User



A common issue with spreadsheets is how to share them.  The usual call round the office is ‘Have you finished with the spreadsheet yet?’  As well as being frustrating this is a real productivity bottleneck.  How long before someone gets fed up and starts a separate spreadsheet or just guesses at something and makes a mistake.  Spreadsheets definitely suffer in a multi-user environment, which is most offices.  It’s not looking good in this round for Spreadsheets!Read More »Spreadsheets vs Databases – Round 1: Multi-User

Has Your Team Outgrown Spreadsheets?

Here’s how you can tell –

  • Does more than one person need to use it at the same time?
  • Would you like the spreadsheet to give you more tools and reporting?
  • Has your business changed since the spreadsheet was set up?
  • Does it take up time you’d rather spend on creative, value-adding tasks.

If you have answered ‘Yes!’ to any of these questions then it is time to consolidate your spreadsheets into a single, user-friendly bespoke database.

With a Working Data Bespoke Database you get:Read More »Has Your Team Outgrown Spreadsheets?

How To Get The Reports You Need To Guide Your Business

I have recently been away for a well-earned break by the seaside.  It has been a hectic year full of change, technical challenges and new developments.  On my return I wanted to review the previous 12 months at Working Data and check out some basic management reporting.


Using our in-house Custom Access Database I pulled up the report showing the source of the last 12 months’ clients.  47% of our invoicing total came from repeat business with our existing clients.


Read More »How To Get The Reports You Need To Guide Your Business