Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Getting Access to Spreadsheet Models for Managers

If Spreadsheet Models for Managersyou use Excel to model businesses, business processes, or business transactions, this course will change your life. You’ll learn how to create tools for yourself that will amaze even you. Unrestricted use of this material is available in two ways.

As a stand-alone Web site
It resides on your computer, and you can use it anywhere. No need for Internet access.
At this Web site
If you have access to the Internet whenever you want to view this material, you can purchase on-line access. Unlimited usage. I’m constantly making improvements and you’ll get them as soon as they’re available.

To Order On Line

Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, on-line edition, one month" by credit card, for USD 69.95 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.
Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, on-line edition, three months" by credit card, for USD 199.00 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.
Order "Spreadsheet Models for Managers, downloadable hyperbook edition" by credit card, for USD 199.00 each, using our secure server, and receive download instructions by return email.

To Order by Mail

Make your check payable to Chaco Canyon Consulting, for the amount indicated:
  • For the download: USD 199.00
  • For access online for three months: USD 199.00
  • For access online for one month: USD 69.95
And send it to:
Chaco Canyon Consulting
700 Huron Avenue, Suite 19C
Cambridge, MA 02138

To use the course software you’ll need some other applications, which you very probably already have. By placing your order, you’re confirming that you have the software you need, as described on this site.

Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Named parameters 1/29
Session Links
  • Naming parameters helps you in several ways. Naming makes models:
    • More useful — easier to change
    • Cheaper to build and modify
    • More reliable — more internal consistency
    • More maintainable, more readable
    • Easier for others to understand
    • More error-free
  • Common error in spreadsheet modeling — “parameter sprinkling”
    • Hard-wired numbers aren’t distinguishable
    • You must chase all over if you want to change the value
  • Compound parameter: adjacent cells dealt with as a single entity
  • One form of parameterization: cell reference
  • Collect all the parameter cells for a given sheet into one block — the parameter block
  • You can even name the parameter block


Parameter sprinkling is perhaps the most common error in spreadsheet model design, and is therefore the most probable cause of incorrect projections.

Collecting all named parameters into a single place on a single worksheet is good practice, when it’s possible. It reduces maintenance costs and makes your models much easier to use. But you can’t always do it. Sometimes you want to use the same name on each of a set of similar worksheets. For example, you might want to use the name “Quota” on each of the regional sales division’s worksheets. In this case, you can define a parameter block on each affected sheet.

Names are also helpful in situations we won’t actually deal with in this course. For example, when using a data validation to control user inputs, it’s common to have several data validations that are similar. If you use named ranges to control those validations, and then the range changes its shape, updating the name automatically updates all the validations. In some situations, this saves much effort that would otherwise be required to redefine all the validations that depended on the range that changed. If you’re unfamiliar with validations, you can read about them in online help.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 27-Apr-2016 04:15:26 EDT

Deciding What to Read

The first homework assignment has a fair amount of reading attached to it. Some students feel that the best approach is to read it all, and then try to do the homework. For most of us, such an approach doesn’t work very well.

Before you begin the course, read the general material, such as “Getting Started,” “Software You Need for This Course,” and “How to Work.”

Later, as you begin the homework, let the homework drive your reading choices. For instance, the first homework assignment does require that you master certain techniques. Read “Names” and “The Ripple Principle.” Then, if something confuses you, read up on it: examples are “The Basics of Recalculation” and “References.” Learning something when you need it, and only when you need it, is usually the best way to go.

Avoid Redundant Parentheses

Parentheses sometimes make a real difference. For instance A1*B1+2 is very different from A1*(B1+2). But A1*(B1*2) is exactly the same as A1*B1*2. When the parentheses don’t make any difference in the value of the result, it’s not usually a good idea to include them. They tend to make the formulas harder to read, and there’s always the chance that you’ll put them in the wrong place. More