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Escape from Spreadsheet Hell

The website for the workshop! TL;DR we’ll teach you how to create spreadsheets optimized for reuse by you and others. Your future self will thank you.

Spreadsheet set-up

Managing raw and cooked data

Raw data should be kept separate from all other data.

It is recommended that you keep your cooked (adjusted, calculated, coded, cleaned, wranggled, etc.) data in a different sheet or file from your raw (starting) data. This is primarily done so that if something goes wrong you can restore your work back to its original state and/or perform error checking.

Recommended Spreadsheet Practices

  1. One sheet, one "data set"
  2. Columns are variables.
  3. Rows are observations.
  4. Only one value is stored in each cell.
  5. There are no merged cells.
  6. There are no blank rows or columns used as (visual) separators.
  7. Decorative formatting is only used to aid navigation or is temporary, it is not used to bestow meaning.
  8. Only the first row should be used for headers and the header names should not contain spaces (use CamelCase or Snake_case) if the data will be used in another program or in command line applications such a Python and R.

Escape Coordinators

Megan O'Donnell
mno@iastate.edu
Data Services Librarian
ENT, EEOB, NREM, and Environment.

Kris Stacy-Bates
kksb@iastate.edu
Science and Technology Librarian
ABE, CCEE, Math, and Stats