Formatting elements: Borders (About)

If you use only one kind of formatting on a table, make it the borders. The borders are the lines around the cell . Like the borders around a comic strip, lines around a table give it visual definition, and separate it from any other text that might surround it. Lines inside can also help guide the eye, and even give meaning. You see a kind of “ghost” border when you’re looking at a spreadsheet, but I call it a ghost because if you print it, those borders disappear.

Before getting into how to set borders in various programs I’m first going to take a little while to discuss what you can, can’t, and might be able to do with borders in spreadsheets, as well as what you should, and shouldn’t do. Continue reading Formatting elements: Borders (About)

Debt payoff spreadsheets: updated

Earlier this week, a reader asked about adding some functionality to the debt payoff spreadsheets I posted a few weeks back.

One of the things he wanted was a way to enter base income and subtract expenses, rather than having to calculate it separately. That was fairly easy, and I went ahead and explained how to do it.

The other thing he wanted was a way to spread the extra payment evenly across all debts, rather than applying it all to a single debt until that debt is paid. That’s certainly an option, but seemed a little difficult to explain in a comment. So instead I’ve developed a set of spreadsheets that have both of these options. Continue reading Debt payoff spreadsheets: updated

Debt payoff spreadsheets: formatting

Last week I discussed the formulas in the debt payment calculator spreadsheets, but before jumping back into the why-should and how-to’s of various types of formatting I wanted to take a little time to point out the formatting that I did on them.

I did a fair amount of formatting on these spreadsheets, and you might want to take a look at it to see what works for you, and what doesn’t. One thing that may not be obvious, but which is actually pretty important, is the fact that I moved all of the input/output worksheets to the beginning, and all the purely-calculation worksheets to the end. If you’re showing someone a spreadsheet and they have to page through irrelevant data, they’re likely to get lost.

Similarly, I tried to keep or reduce things as close as reasonably possible to amounts that could be seen on a single screen. Screen sizes and resolutions vary, of course.

Other than those two things, I did different kinds of formatting on different kinds of worksheets, depending on what I was trying to convey. Continue reading Debt payoff spreadsheets: formatting

Debt payoff spreadsheets: formulas

Last week I shared a debt payment calculator spreadsheet, and promised that this week I’d discuss how I did it. I’m not going to write out the formulas here, but my explanations here are designed to help you read through the formulas in the spreadsheet.

Is the way I did it the only way to do it? Heck no. Everyone will have their own style. It’s not even the best, because I was trying to be as flexible as possible, while keeping it simple enough to actually illustrate things. Plus I was trying to do it quickly, and did some things which would probably have been better done another way. (I make notes of the things that I realized while typing this up, but there are probably more improvements that could be done.) Continue reading Debt payoff spreadsheets: formulas

Debt payoff spreadsheets

By the time this post goes up it’ll be 2012, and a lot of people will be starting on their new year’s resolutions.

Any resolution that’s done in stages (like weight loss, or debt reduction) can be tracked in a spreadsheet. So this seems like the ideal time to post some spreadsheets that are fully prepared, and ready for use.

This year I’ve made a spreadsheet for calculating debt payoffs. You can download an appropriate version using the links below. Continue reading Debt payoff spreadsheets