What's wrong with Excel?


Why do people in the data industry choose not to use Excel for data analysis? It’s something I learned in school, so you’d expect a majority of people to have at least a basic understanding of how to use it. And yet, other analysis tools are used instead. I’ve used R before, and it’s great for data exploration and transformation, but it does have a steep learning curve.

Is Excel not really viable in industry? If not, why? Or is it just the additional expense of running proprietary software that turns people off using it?


Excel very much is still at the core of most businesses data analysis setups, much to my sadness. Back in the day, the 64k row limit in excel was great because it allowed users to chop data around without doing too much, now people try and use it for analysing million row tables on a laptop when a database would be far more suited.

The other issue I have with Excel is the loss of the single version of the truth. It is important in business the retain a core record of whatever is being measured, but users will make changes to spreadsheets and continue distributing them at which point the recipient takes it as being gospel and the accuracy of the reported data decreases.

Excel has its place and is used in many businesses but it has to be used with care.


Maybe this sums up whats wrong with Excel…