Using spreadsheets as databases


I tweeted this yesterday:

Rule #1: Don’t use a spreadsheet as a database

Rule #2: Definitely don’t use a spreadsheet as a database

Rule #3: Named ranges and AutoFilters are awesome for use as a quick database (but you didn’t read that)

@djackman replied:

Also, if you’re a multibillion dollar Australian corporation, don’t run your distribution centre database on bloody Microsoft Access.

And @markashworth (private account):

True story. Some very big (huge) companies do this and they use email to distribute their ‘databases’

I’m sure there must be a German word for cry-laughter, when you’re both bemused and sad at the state of things. It needs to describe something that’s both awful, and utterly believeable.

Then @michaeldexter:


I poorly summarised in a tweet, but I use them heavily to track my own collections of pointless stuff. Like LaserDiscs, vintage IT parts, and personal projects. It’s great to be able to filter by whether I’m selling something, the condition of a part, whether things need replacing, or even where something is.

In a past life I feel like I would have used something like FileMaker, or even SQLite3 with a simple Perl-based CLI. But spreadsheets work fine.

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