Rapid Spreadsheet Reshaping with Excelsior: multiple drastic changes to content and layout are easy when you represent enough structure - Computer Science > Software EngineeringReport as inadecuate




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Abstract: Spreadsheets often need changing in ways made tedious and risky by Excel. Forexample: simultaneously altering many tables- size, orientation, and position;inserting cross-tabulations; moving data between sheets; splitting and mergingsheets. A safer, faster restructuring tool is, we claim, Excelsior. The resultof a research project into reducing spreadsheet risk, Excelsior is the firstever tool for modularising spreadsheets; i.e. for building them from componentswhich can be independently created, tested, debugged, and updated. Itrepresents spreadsheets in a way that makes these components explicit,separates them from layout, and allows both components and layout to be changedwithout breaking dependent formulae. Here, we report experiments to test thatthis does indeed make such changes easier. In one, we automatically generated across-tabulation and added it to a spreadsheet. In the other, we generated newversions of a 10,000-cell housing-finance spreadsheet containing manyinterconnected 20*40 tables. We varied table sizes from 5*10 to 200*2,000;moved tables between sheets; and flipped table orientations. Each changegenerated a spreadsheet with different structure but identical outputs; eachchange took just a few minutes.



Author: Jocelyn Paine, Emre Tek, Duncan Williamson

Source: https://arxiv.org/







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