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Excel: My Love/Hate Relationship with an Otherwise Okay Chart System



Oh, Excel. You try. So hard.


I am a very organized person. Looking at the clutter around my house, you wouldn't think so (or my parents don't think so, when they come visit). But I am incredibly organized, to the point that it wouldn't surprise me to make a list of lists that I have. Part of it comes from my situation in life, I suppose. My full-time job has a myriad of tasks I have to complete each day that is ever-changing, plus I'm often in charge of other people, so I have to get them working as well. On top of that, I'm also a full time college student with online as well as in-class classes, so I have to keep all my homework and tests straightened out. Organization is the key to not falling behind and getting super stressed out.


So, when I first set out to plan my game, I made a very neat Microsoft Excel sheet with various tabs that almost mirrored that of the RPG layout in the maker. There's a tab for classes, enemies, skills, items, etc. And in those tabs, there are various columns. The items tab, for example, has each item name, whether or not it's a key item, where it can be found, and how it can be used. The enemy tab has the enemy name, picture, where it's found, what its stats are, and what level the player should be when they encounter it for a smooth battle. The actors tab has the name of each actor, a small description, a list of key items that go with that actor (if applicable), and their class.


You can see that it makes for a very neat, efficient blueprint for the game, that I can modify easily without having to sort through documents and derp around for too long in the maker itself. It also cuts errors almost in half, since I can change values in the spreadsheet and cross-reference them in the maker, just to make sure that everything is running as smoothly as possible. I even have a page for the scripts that I'm using, and everything that I have to mention in the credits so that I won't forget to... well... credit anyone!





While Excel is fine and dandy for stuff like this (though not hte original purpose of it, I suppose), I do have many, MANY qualms.


1. Enter doesn't work well. Well, Enter doesn't work at all. Maybe it's just too much to ask that when I press the Return key, it goes to the cell beneath the cell I was working in. Why is that so hard? Why does Excel think that I want to go back to the first column, next row? Why? WHY? (clenches fist) At least Tab works the majority of the time.


2. When you make a typo, it's much easier to go up the top and fix it, rather than wrestle with trying to fix it in the cell and having to rewrite the entire thing. Why can you not just edit like you would in Word? It's still ding-dang Microsoft Office, for God's sake! I don't like having to go all the way to the top; it messes with my rhythm. I become... upset.



3. This is more formatting than anything else, because Excel IS supposed to be a math thing, I guess. But the numbers are on the opposite side of the cell compared to words. I wish there was an option to get rid of that. (there may be, and I just don't know about it, but I doubt it)


And these are only some of my grievances, but they're the main three. Still, it's not enough for me to sacrifice Excel for a chart in word, simply because it IS such a neat, organized layout for my database stuff.


Even if I do temporarily become Emperor Kuzco sometimes.


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Try OpenOffice or Google Sheets or something if you don't like excel. Heck, try them anyway. Down with Microsoft products!

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#1) I don't know what version of Excel you have, but in mine, when you hit Enter it goes down 1 cell. As in A22 to A23.


#2) Can't you just click in the formula box, do your edit, and hit enter? The selector box should just move to the next cell, taking you back to where you were.

#3) As for the alignment problem, you can Right-click> Format Cells > click Alignment tab > "Horizontal" dropbox > select Left.


Deep breaths, and don't be afraid to search stuff online! Hell, that's how I found out about MIN, MAX, and other commands I never knew about for Excel.

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KilloZapit: I actually don't hate MS products. Only their malfunctioning OS systems.


Gleason: I don't actually know what version I have... I guess I could look, if I wasn't too lazy. Thanks for the heads up on the alignment issue, though! You get mad props for knowing how to fix that! (I actually took an Office class my sophomore year of college, but I don't remember much from it. I DO remember doing MIN and MAX on it, though.)

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I mostly just think the company is rotten. :P Well, that and the business model of propitiatory software is dumb, and Microsoft is a poster boy for it. Hurray for free software! :3

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If you'd rather something even better than OpenOffice, which is proprietary now, you could always try LibreOffice - which is made by the same people, and continues to have support.

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