# SPREADSHEETS. TIP! Whenever you get some new data, save it under a new name! Then if you mess things up, you can always go back to the original.

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1 SPREADSHEETS Spreadsheets are great tools for sorting, filtering and running calculations on tables of data. Journalists who know the basics can interview data to find stories and trends that others may miss. Once you know your way around a spreadsheet, it s fairly easy to pick up the skills needed to work with many other tools for data analysis. TIP! Whenever you get some new data, save it under a new name! Then if you mess things up, you can always go back to the original. So, let s open the file City Budget.xls and save it under a new name. Formatting, basic calculations and sorting Spreadsheets use a simple co-ordinate system, with letters for columns and numbers for rows. Any calculations you perform rely on these coordinates. This data was provided some years ago to a reporter working on a small city paper. 1. Formatting data First, let s format the columns as currency. Select columns B and C by clicking on the letters while pressing the Ctrl key; then select Format > Cells; when the dialog box pops up, select Currency, \$ and 0 decimal places.

2 So, now we have everything in \$, but the totals have been replaced with ######. This just means that the number is wider than the column, so let s format the column width. Select the square at the top left, which selects all the data in the sheet. Then Format>Column>Autofit Selection 2. Performing basic calculations Now let s calculate how the budget has changed from this year to last year. All calculations in Excel start by entering = into the cell. So, the formula for first cell is =(C2-B2). (At this stage, we may need to format the cells in the column so that they are also in \$.) Move the cursor to the bottom right hand corner of the cell until you see it change to a cross, then double click. Excel autofills the column, performing the same calculation for each row until it hits a space. TIP! Excel can recognize other patterns in your data and autofill in the same way. To number a list of records, for instance, type 1, 2, 3, into the first three cells next to a column of data, select those three cells and autofill. You can also Copy (Ctrl C) the first cell and Paste (Ctrl V) all the way down the column. See how the marching ants form around the cell you ve copied. (This will give 0s where the cells are blank, and #VALUE! errors as Excel tries to perform a calculation on text. These can simply be deleted.)

3 TIP! You can lose your work if you later delete data that was used to calculate values that you are still working with. If this is a possibility, Copy the calculated data and re-enter it by selecting Edit>Paste Special and clicking the Values button So let s do that here, and then delete our old column D. See how the cells now contain the numbers, not the formulas used to calculate them.

4 Now let s calculate the percentage change in budget, rather than the absolute \$ value. TIP! When adding a longish title to a column or row, use Format>Cell>Alignment>Wrap text to keep the formatting neat The formula for the first cell is =((C2-B2)/B2) or =(D2/B2). So let s enter this, and copy down the column as before. Again, we will need to Format the cells to have the results displayed as a percentage, rather than a decimal.

5 3. Sorting data Let s sort by Per cent change. To do so, highlight the range of data you want to sort, then Data>Sort. When the dialog box pops up, select Sort By Percent Change and click the Descending button. TIP! When sorting, make sure Excel has recognized that your data has a header row if there is one present, otherwise that will be sorted as well. TIP! Make sure when sorting to select the full range of data you want to sort, and no more. Missing rows or columns from sorts, or including extraneous data are common ways to scramble your data. Use Edit>Undo sort if you make a mistake. Sorting by Per cent change and Difference, for both Departments and Revenues can produce ideas for story angles. What might the reporter have pursued in this case?

6 TIP! Always check any calculations that you haven t done yourself The mantra of journalism should be: if your mother says she loves you, check it out! We should be as sceptical of numbers as we are of sources. So let s just check that the totals were given add up correctly. To check the Total for This Year, Departments, the formula is =SUM(B2:B14). Now Copy this cell, and Paste into columns C and D. What s our reporting plan now? 4. Performing anchored calculations In each calculation we ve performed so far, we ve moved down or across the spreadsheet performing the equivalent calculation for that row or column. But sometimes that isn t what we want to do. Let s calculate the increase in revenue from each source as a percentage of the total increase in revenue. Use the formula =(D20/\$D\$31), and then Autofill. See that the \$ signs anchor the calculation. To anchor to a specific cell, you need a \$ in front of both coordinates.

7 Importing data, filtering, subtotals and pivot tables Now we re going to look at a larger dataset, to show you can use a spreadsheet to quickly drill down to selections from the data, and to perform useful summary calculations. Data are often provided as text (.txt) or comma separated values (.csv) files, so we ll first learn how to import a text file into Excel. TIP! Databases should always be able to export data as.txt or.csv files, so bear this in mind whenever an organization says it can t provide data because it s in a special format. 1. Importing a text file Find the file Pfizer payments.txt and double click to open it in Notepad. See that individual entries are separated by Tabs and some of the entries are surrounded by double quote marks. Now open a new document in Excel, then Data>Import External Data>Import Data

8 Browse for the file Pfizer payments.txt and double click on it. Excel has recognized that fields in the data are separated by a Tab, but we can select the correct delimiter if it hasn t. Excel has also correctly selected the double quotes as a qualifier for entries that will be treated as text. The next dialog box allows us to format each column. We want to select Text for all apart from the columns with money, for which we will select General. Finally, check that the data is going to be entered into the top left hand corner of the spreadsheet and click OK. Save this file as Pfizer payments.xls, and then again under a new name. See that we have a list of more than 10,000 payments, which in this form doesn t tell us very much.

9 2. Filtering data So let s set up the spreadsheet so we can filter for what we re interested in, using Data>Filter>Autofilter. See that each of the columns now has a little arrow. Let s say we want a list of all doctors in California who were paid more than \$10,000 to run expert-led forums. Click on the arrow for State, select CA, then Category and select Expert-Led Forums. Finally, Click on the arrow Total and select Custom, and select Is greater than or equal to 10000, as follows: Click OK, and we have a list of 31 doctors. TIP! If you need to do further calculations on a filtered subset of the data select the data, Copy it, select the Sheet 2 and paste into a new worksheet. To rename the sheet for future reference, right click on the Sheet 2 tab and select Rename Data>Autofilter to remove filters once more

10 3. Calculating subtotals Let s now say we want to know how much money went to each state. First, Select all the data and Sort by state in Ascending order. Then, with all the data selected, select Data>Subtotal. When the dialog box pops up, fill in like this: At each change in: State Use function: Sum Add subtotal to: Total When the calculation is done, click on the 2 at top left to hide the data and just leave the subtotals (1 hides everything except the grand total.) Data>Subtotal and click Remove All to clear the subtotals.

11 3. Making pivot tables What if we want to know the totals by state and by category of payment? We can do that in one step, using a pivot table. Select all the data, then select Data>Pivot Table and Pivot Chart Report. Click Next at the first two dialog boxes; at the third, name sure the New Worksheet button is selected, then click Layout. Drag and drop Total into Data, Category into Row, and State into Column, as follows: The default for Data is Count, which will give us the number of payments in each state by category. We want the Sum, so double click on Count of Total, change Count to Sum, and Click OK twice.

12 Click Finish, and close the dialog boxes that appear. Now we have the table we wanted, giving payments by state and by category. See that it has automatically been created with filters, which we can use as before. We can improve the formatting by Selecting all the data and Format>Cells to convert to currency. Finally, Select column B and Window>Freeze Panes, so that the first column will remain visible as we scroll right.

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