Comparing and Contrasting Different Excel Spreadsheets

Sam Miller

Because Excel spreadsheets are the standard for any mathematical calculations, it is fairly common for many different worksheets to be developed over time which will have roughly the same format or will attempt to capture the same information. In this instance, if there is to be comparison of the same information over time, there are only two ways to approach the data collection phase.

1. You can link the two worksheets manually and prepare a third worksheet which will display the difference between the two either as a positive or negative change. This generally requires a significant amount of manual checking and linking and the information is only as good as the attention to detail present in the one who is preparing the report. You could also perform this same series of steps but without linking the two worksheets in Excel

2. You could take advantage of software which essentially does the same function without even opening the two Excel spreadsheets required. Using this software means you receive a report which tell you where the differences between the two spreadsheets lie and how by how much.

Compare Excel spreadsheet software can easily be used for comparison over time, but it also has other uses. For example, a spreadsheet with information at a certain point in time can be compared against another spreadsheet which has the ideal. The obvious example for this scenario is comparing actual figures against budget figures for the same period.

Another excellent use of the capabilities of the compare Excel spreadsheet software is to find errors. No matter how good the data content quality control procedures are in data entry, there is an opportunity for errors to creep into a completed spreadsheet. It may be that two different users made changes to a spreadsheet and the changes were not coordinated or updated correctly. However the errors were caused, it is appropriate that they be identified and corrected. By comparing the two versions of the Excel spreadsheet you can identify where there are any differences or errors in the two copies and take steps to correct the errors.

For a manager or business owner doing modeling, or ‘what if’ scenarios, a compare Excel spreadsheet program is the ideal way to view results when different options are used in the modeling. Using compare Excel spreadsheet software means you can change one factor and look for bottom line results, or you can try several different concepts and quickly compare the differences all the way through the spreadsheet on one single page report.

To accomplish the type of detailed changes and all the permutations which each one causes would be a horrendously time consuming task if done manually, even with the help of the Excel spreadsheet program itself. But, by using the comparison software, you can compare full pages, ranges of cells, columns or rows, in fact if you can define what you want compared, you’ll be able to do it quickly and easily by using compare Excel spreadsheet software.

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