“Is There An Export To Excel Option?”

As I diligently laboured over a relatively complex ( for me, though I did write a macro ) spreadsheet over the last couple of days I have been reminded how many times during my career I have sat through detailed and comprehensive solution demonstrations only to hear the inevitable “but can I use Excel?” question.

I have long since learned to be comfortable with this but it is interesting that people still crave flexibility and ultimate control over even the most complete solutions.

Is it a deficiency in application design that leaves the user frustrated that they cannot get the information out in a familiar way? Have we created a standard output method by default and should we just stop trying alternatives? Is it a need to satisfy inner creativity with the enticing world of Conditional Formatting? Is it a questionable desire to change the numbers or is it as simple as a comfortable interface?

Maybe, in the same way that our legs believe an escalator is still running as we get off at the bottom even if our eyes can plainly see it’s motionless, it has become so ingrained that we should just accept it as inevitable.

More questions than answers I’m afraid this week, but you get the idea.

There have even been times when I have come to the end of a complex and far reaching business change programme only to wonder whether or not the user community would have been just as happy, if not happier, if I had just given them a blank spreadsheet in the first place and told them to get on with it. Just a thought. Discuss.

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