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Loyola University Chicago Libraries

Spreadsheet Therapy

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

Protecting your data

Protecting against data loss does not have to be arduous. A few good habits can go a long way

  • ALWAYS keep a copy of your raw data in a separate file from any analysis or manipulation
    • Set this file to read-only
  • Use separate tabs or documents to clean and analyze your data
    • Keep track of all steps you perform on your data in a separate tab or metadata file
  • Save early and often
  • Keep multiple backups of your data in at least two physical locations
    • Example: keep one copy on your hard drive, one in SharePoint, and one on another cloud-based server like Google Drive
  • Keep multiple versions of files in case one gets corrupted
    • Use a clear naming convention like file_v1.txt, file_v2.txt
  • When not actively working with data, set files to read-only or open in read-only mode