Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Spreadsheet Therapy

Principles of "data tidiness" to make spreadsheets easier to manage, use, and understand.

Characters to use / avoid

  • Avoid accidentally adding in special and hidden characters from copy/paste
    • Line breaks and paragraph markers may not be readily obvious
    • Symbols may not display properly in some software/systems
    • Avoid undesirable extra spaces in cells -- there are excel functions that can help remove them
  • Represent zeroes and null values unambiguously
    • Fill in a measurement/count of zero explicitly - do not leave blank
    • To indicate a missing value...
      • Leave the cell blank, or
      • Choose a text indicator like "NA" or "-" and use it consistently throughout your documents