Friday, September 20, 2013

Keeping Track of Money (and a New Section!)

Hello Internet!

I have been in the business of constructing excel spreadsheets longer than I have been in business. As soon as I realized it could handle complex math and even a few simple logic commands I knew I was onto something useful. I never had the patience to learn a formal coding language auto-didactically, but in my own generally-hackish way, I learned to build a few things that just never should exist in spreadsheet form - including, once, a full database. This was before I had learned about Microsoft's database system, Access.

After learning how to do excel formally, I still like to play with it from time to time, even though there's no professional need to. It helps me remember some of the more esoteric commands (such as the various d-series commands like "DSUM"), keeps my logic circuit running, and is genuinely a fun pastime when I have nothing terribly exciting to play on the digital frontier, no new books, and Kat's not around.

Lately I've been looking at my massive, well-curated collection of arcane, ugly, and certainly only functional-to-me spreadsheets and wondering what I can do with them. Mostly-empty spreadsheets cost little to no memory, so they haven't been in the way, but when I see a few hundred files in a directory I wonder if I can't put them to use. I come from the age when an 8 GB harddrive was massive, so I have a few old holdovers when it comes to space conservation.

So, what I've decided to do, is every weekend or so I am going to take one of these old files, turn it into something that anyone can use, and upload it here for download.

This week, I'm offering Monthly Spending Tracker v.1.0. The workbook offers a series of sheets (one for each month in a calendar year), with a column for a budget, a column for the output, and tables to track your income (on the left) and spending (on the right). The package includes my documentation for the file, which outlines more-or-less how it works. I tried to make the system as user-friendly as possible but if you're digging into the code, you're going to run into problems. I'm so used to working without ranges that I only define large ranges such as tables. Most cell references are going to be absolute or relative references to specific cells - best practice for public use documents would be to name literally every reference as a range so that the end user can look at the code and fix their mistakes.

Still, it should do the job.

I will be, in the coming days, adding a new page for all of these downloads.

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