by Sharyl Stockstill

Second to word processing, spreadsheets are one of the the most popular uses of computers. If you cannot find a program to do what you need to do, think about creating your own spreadsheet program. If you want to program a budget or time sheet, it is just a matter of finding the correct formulas to get the spreadsheet to do what you want.

1

Draw out your ideal program on a piece of paper. This will help you to visualize what you need the spreadsheet program to do. If you need to create a time sheet for employees, start by listing what information you need. If you need to know what the employee did during each day, create several rows that can be divided into days of the week. If you want the totals to carry over to a different page, make notes on the side of the paper so you have a reference of things you will be looking for.

2

Open the spreadsheet program and begin transferring your paper image into the cells of the spreadsheet. Keep in mind that cells can be combined and borders can be drawn to help you get the look you want.

3

Add formulas where you need them. Highlight a set of cells and use the hot-button to total them. Most formulas begin with the equals sign and use the address of the cell you want to calculate. For example, cell A4 has a number in it. You want to multiply that number by 16. Highlight the box where you want the formula to go and enter =A4*16 When you hit enter, the answer will appear. Now, you can change the number in cell A4 and the number will automatically be updated to the new number times 16.

4

Copy the formula and paste it in the cell below. When you mouse over, the formula in the new cell now reads =B4*16. This makes it simple to get one line of formula in then to copy and paste as many in a series as you need.

5

Finish one page of your spreadsheet by adding formulas where you need them. To duplicate, copy the entire page and paste it onto the next page in the spreadsheet workbook. As you come across things you need, you can use the Help file in your spreadsheet program to find the commands for the cells.

#### Tip

• check Save your work often and to a couple of different files. If you make a mistake, you can go to a previous version.

#### Warning

• close Play and tweak with your spreadsheet before putting it into use. You may discover improvements that are easier implemented before you use it.

#### Photo Credits

• photo_camera Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images