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Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing


Many scientists use spreadsheets to store and analyze small data sets—which is fine, except (a) they keep using them long after they should have outgrown them, and (b) even on small data sets, many scientists do things by hand because they don't know about their spreadsheet's more advanced features.

  • Ensure the data is regular along both columns and rows.
  • Use aggregation functions to combine values, and ranges to define which values to combine.
  • Use built-in sorting and ranking functions to manage data.
  • Use conditional and lookup functions to achieve the same effect as if and for.
  • Use pivot tables to aggregate data along multiple dimensions.
  • Named ranges make updates safer and easier.
  1. Introduction
  2. Aggregation
  3. Display
  4. Sorting
  5. Conditionals
  6. Lookup
  7. Charting
  8. Pivot Tables
  9. Named Ranges