Keep Notes on Excel Formulas and Macros

Written by Debra Dalgleish from Contextures Blog

Do you keep notes about the Excel formulas and macros that you create? What’s your documentation system, if you have one? Is it fancy or simple, and is it electronic or paper-based? Or is it all stored in your head?

Keeping Excel Notes

A couple of months ago, I got an email from Paul Hanson, who runs Westport Consulting, in Melbourne, Australia.

Paul has created a couple of 8.5″ x 11″ paper notebooks for spreadsheet users.

  • There are 4 index sheets at the front of the notebook, where you can list each formula or function and its page number, after you enter notes about it.
  • Then there are 100 nicely-structured pages for your formula and function notes.

Here’s a sample page from one of the notebooks. I like the clean, well-organized layout for the note pages.


My Excel Notes System

Paul offered to send me sample copies of his Excel notebooks, but I declined his offer, with thanks.

Instead of using paper, here’s what I do:

  • Excel formula notes are stored in Notepad++ or in Excel workbooks, where I can do a digital search later.
  • Favourite macros are stored in my “DebraMacros” file (xlam format), where I can always find and use them.
  • Most macros have comments, to explain the steps, and I always hope that future me understands them!
  • For some formulas and macros, I make blog posts, or pages on my Contextures website. Later, Google can help me find those!

Do You Keep Paper Notes?

Even though I don’t keep paper notes about Excel formulas, lots of people probably do.

Do you keep paper notes about your Excel formulas or custom functions, or your macros?

If you do, what kind of system do you have? Do you just scribble notes on bits of paper, and hope that you can find them later? Or do you have a fancy-ish? system for your Excel notes?

Do You Keep Electronic Notes?

If you don’t keep paper notes, do you have some kind of electronic system instead?

If you do, what program(s) do you use? Do you keep simple notes, or well-organized, carefully detailed notes?

Are Your Excel Notes Online?

Do you use a blog or forum posts to store your notes about Excel, and use Google (or something else) to search for them later?

In the olden days, I’d post things in Microsoft’s Excel newsgroups (sigh), and could search for them in Deja-Vu (sigh 2).

Now, I use Google to search for my own blog posts, and other people’s Excel posts or forum replies. Usually, I’m lucky, but it’s not a foolproof system.

Paul Hanson’s Paper Excel Notebooks

Anyway, if you’re a paper notes person, here are the Amazon links where you can get copies of Paul Hanson’s paper Excel notebooks.

First, there’s an Excel Power User Spreadsheet Notebook, in which you can store notes on your worksheet formulas and your VBA functions.

There’s also a simpler version, that’s for storing notes about formulas only – The Spreadsheet Notebook.


Keep Notes on Excel Formulas and Macros


Keep Notes on Excel Formulas and Macros


Keep Notes on Excel Formulas and Macros is a post from Contextures Blog and is not allowed to be copied to other sites

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