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What’s Wrong With Spreadsheets

The spreadsheet was the first 'killer app', the application which led to millions of people buying their first personal computers in the early 1980s. Spreadsheets were a brilliant innovation for replacing accountants' paper spreadsheets, but they are poorly suited for serious quantitative modeling, for both business models and policy analysis. Empirical studies show that more than half of spreadsheets in regular operational use have serious errors. Twenty-five years after the release of VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet, it is time for something better.

This paper describes ten major deficiencies of spreadsheet applications, with examples using Microsoft Excel. It shows how these problems lead to high error rates, lack of transparency, gross inefficiency, inflexibility, and inadequate handling of multiple dimensions and uncertainty. For each problem there is an example from Analytica (software designed specifically for serious quantitative modeling) that shows how to fix it.
- Max Henrion, PhD, the CEO of Lumina and originator of Analytica

Download "What's Wrong With Spreadsheets"
In PDF format, 360 KB