What’s your level? Six levels of spreadsheet user sophistication

Life with Spreadsheets
September 15, 2018

In preparing everything from the product features and UI to the go-to-market plan and messaging for GRID, we have realized that it will be helpful to look at users’ spreadsheet knowledge by levels of sophistication.

Through conversations with spreadsheet users, expert consultants and through deep analysis of a corpus of more than 100 thousand spreadsheets (more on that later) we have come to the following conclusion.

We’d be interested to hear if these levels make sense to you and which level you believe you belong to:

  1. Spreadsheet consumer Has Excel installed (or has logged on to Google Sheets) Opens and views files provided by others
  2. Spreadsheet basic user Creates new Excel files (or Google Sheets documents) Enters data and basic formulas +, -, *, /, SUM(), AVERAGE(), ROUND()
  3. Spreadsheet intermediate user Uses more sophisticated functions such as IF(), FIND(), NOW(), SUBTOTAL(), … Uses - but does not create - pivot tables May name cells and ranges
  4. Spreadsheet pro Uses VLOOKUP() (and soon thereafter INDEX(MATCH()) ) Creates pivot tables May use Data Tables
  5. Spreadsheet developer Has the Developer tab turned on Creates forms (Excel) or uses Google Forms Records macros
  6. Spreadsheet scripter Writes VBA code (Excel) or Apps Scripts (Google) Uses PowerQuery and PowerPivot

Hjalmar Gislason

Founder and CEO of GRID. Curious about data, technology, media, the universe and everything. Founder of 5 software companies.

About GRID

GRID gives spreadsheets wings. A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup, GRID’s user-friendly software empowers people to turn any spreadsheet into a beautiful web report, dashboard or interactive application.

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