Since MS Word pretty much dominates the writing world, all editors must know and be skilled in it. Everybody knows this. Of course, there are other software programs designed for writing—Google Docs, for example—that every editor would do well to learn.

In this post, I’m going to discuss one of the many programs not directly related to writing that editors should learn. I’m going to talk about MS Excel.

“Yawn!” you might say. “What does a spreadsheet program have to do with words? Just let me do my editing and leave the numbers to the accountants.”

Well…if you have an editing business and do your own books, Excel is highly useful, especially if you are not skilled in software designed specifically for accounting (such as QuickBooks).

For example, I use Excel to keep track of my earnings and expenses by month, by quarter, and by year. I have to admit that I am not good at arithmetic, so it is easier and more accurate to let Excel add up the monetary figures than to try to make sure I am entering the correct digits into a calculator. Besides, with Excel I can organize figures neatly into rows and columns and use color to make a sheet easier to decipher (not to mention make it look pretty).

Another task that I like to have Excel do is organize my client list. I keep a list of all of my editing clients, their affiliations, who introduced me to each one, and the date on which I last completed a job for them. Can you imagine what a mess such a record would be on paper? I make the list easier to read by adding subtle shading to every other row. I also highlight in color entries regarding clients for whom I am no longer editing.

Excel can do a ton more than I am currently using it for, so I really should snap up an Excel for Dummies book and learn more. Hmmm. Mastering Excel can be added to my list of goals for 2023.

If you are an editor, do you use Excel and for what do you use it?

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