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Who’s Your Master? Online Spreadsheets Solve a Common Problem

Have you ever emailed spreadsheets back and forth between people? Typically you’ve got some important, regularly updated information that needs input from others, while still keeping track of who has the latest version? You’re certainly not alone … and it can be a real headache!

This problem – i.e. knowing who has the “master document” – is a common one. And there are many ways to address it. Some folks use a document management system to apply version control disciplines as the document evolves over time with input from multiple people. Others designate a key person as having the master, and everyone else sends through their suggested changes.

But increasingly, people are turning to web-based collaborative applications. One key category within that is online spreadsheets, including the likes of Google SpreadsheetsZoho Sheet and Edit Grid.

These operate much like your trusty old version of Excel … except that you can access them via the web from anywhere, and easily invite others to view or edit the data. Calculations, complex formulae, graphs, VBA macros… pretty much all your regular capabilities are there online.

Here at Software Shortlist we’ve just moved some of our own commonly shared spreadsheets online … complete with complex formulae such as nested If-Then statements and lookups. And already we’re seeing benefits – eliminating version control headaches, helping us keep data more up to date, and making it easier to share responsibilities across the team.

Sure beats emailing a spreadsheet back and forth!

About the Author

Xavier Russo is the Marketing Director and co-founder of Software Shortlist. He has been a freelance strategy & marketing consultant; worked for management consulting firms such as Booz & Co and Gemba Group; and led the marketing team that launched online art community