Hell In Excel

Yesterday, I received via email, an Excel spreadsheet that could only have been created by Satan himself, while high on amphetamines. It was the sort of document that was so text heavy, full of unnecessary vertical page breaks, and had about forty sheets contained within all so full of gibberish, that you wondered why the person didn’t just create it in Word like a normal, rational human being (you know, like ME), negating the need for me to curse like a sailor and threaten people’s grandmas. And write ginormous sentences like that one up there.

I briefly entertained the notion of inserting random formulas that would bring up cells saying “DIE YOU C*CKS*CKER!” but sadly this function doesn’t seem to have been invented yet.

Naturally, the Dark Überlord insisted on having a print out of this mammoth document because his retinas would melt and ooze onto the floor if he was forced to look at something on a screen. All the more reason to do it, I say.

The problem was Satan had cunningly incorporated more text than a cell can hold into many areas of the spreadsheet which meant you had to click the cell to get a pop up of the contents, making it virtually unprintable. Trying to paste said contents into various other cells didn’t work either and I ended up with this page that looked like something a dyslexic spider had woven. Now I’m quite familiar with Excel in its basic form, can work with data bases and write formulas, etc., but this text heavy nonsense is making me insane. This means today I get to spend all day working out how to reformat this beast and recreate the excess contents so the Überlord can have a hard copy. This should take me oh….the rest of my natural (and unnatural) life.

The man’s in Canada today (a lucky feat of fortune or else he’d have a spear in his eye) and I was planning a sort of office “spa” day – music, feet up, snacks, blog reading, all very ambient and lovely. Instead, it’s Hell in Excel for me, so please send food/vibes/gun/hunky man with cake/news on how to print this mofo of a document in order to save the Guv’ner’s sanity. Thank you!

Please donate cocktails!


38 Responses to “Hell In Excel”

  1. Falwless Says:

    I know some mad VBA. Send that punk workbook my way and I’ll pepper it with the “DIE YOU C*CKS*CKER!” booby traps. It’ll be like The Goonies, but way better (read: no Martha Plimpton).

    Seriously, I feel for you. I deal with this daily. I think the computer and software industry should follow the DMV’s lead: proficiency tests and official licenses before touching the keyboard without a chaperone.

  2. The Guv'ner Says:

    Oh GOD yes. That would be great. I think they’ve created this monster in it just for the convenience of the auto fill in function when repeating a value. Not thinking of the mental headache of the text heavy parts. URGH. Honestly this WILL take all week.

    Send me the DIE YOU COCKSUCKER booby traps immediately please! 🙂 Oh! And something fun to eat. I. IS. STARVIN’.

  3. Teri Says:

    GOD, I hate when people do this. If you’re aren’t fairly proficient in something, leave it alone.

    Excel is made for numbers
    Word is made for words
    Powerpoint is made for making fun of your co-workers…….

  4. Teri Says:

    OH, and sending some booze and cake your way…..

  5. The Guv'ner Says:

    Teri: DAMN, as if I’d do something as crass as MAKE FUN OF MY COWORKERS! 🙂 Mon Dieu woman! Oh ok then.

    I agree. Some numbskull made this OFFICIAL document in Excel deliberately to mess with me. I am currently recreating it in Word. Naturally it’s lots of tables etc. so a straight paste will NOT work. Fuckers.

    Dude, thank you for the booze and cake. The day is looking up!

  6. CDP Says:

    I’m with Teri; Word is for Words, hence the name. Excel is for–well, not excelling, clearly, so there goes the whole “hence the name” argument. But still.

    I’ll send you a sandwich and a nice cup of soup.

  7. BeckEye Says:

    Some people just use Excel because they think it makes them look smarter than they are. “Oooh, lookie! I put all my stupid shit in columns! Doesn’t that make it more professional?”

  8. doorknob_dan Says:

    Just print out 10000 unmanageable/unreadable pages, no? Seems like the most prudent thing to do in this case.

    He’ll think twice about asking you to print out someone else’s spreadsheet! (Plus the person who made it will look like a dork.)

  9. trigimper Says:

    Try either “paste special”, saving the excel file as csv or text and doing an import, or just take a Fukitol (TM) pill, print it, take some scissors and make some pretty doilys.

  10. The Guv'ner Says:

    Guys, all fabulous ideas. Especially the dollies Tri!

    Hey CDP, thanks for the sustenance. YUM!! Better be cream of tomato or tomato and rice soup. I LIKEY!

    Beck: People use Excel in non mathematical settings to be total ASSMUNCHERS. That is my opinion and I have researched this.

    Dan: I’d LOVE to. LOVE to. Especially since whoever made the document is the worst speller EVER so I’m having to correct everything purely because it offends me to print something with words like “Knowlige” and “actally” all over it. GRRR.

    Tri: I tried paste special and other methods I thought made me really intelligent but to no avail. I can only assume the sheet was created on Mars using Martian software and that it doesn’t translate. BUGGERS!

  11. Diane Mandy Says:

    Not Hell in Excel! That’s the worst, a program created by Satan himself (along with Mirosoft Project) You have my deepest sympathies.

  12. DanjerusKurves Says:

    I could be wrong, but can’t you just convert the whole thing to a Word document?

    Shame so many suckers use MS-Word instead of WordPerfect, in which you can use tables AND formulas AND text AND graphics, etc. Best programme ever written — and Word is only more prevalent because it was free with new PCs for so long.

    The day that MicroBlows makes something that doesn’t suck, it’ll be a vacuum cleaner.

  13. The Guv'ner Says:

    Diane: I KNOW! Bastards. Someone must be flogged.

    Danjerus: Wow, people still USE Wordperfect? Who knew? Every office I’ve been in use Word pretty exclusively. Goddamn.

    I am currently converting to word but it means formatting each sheet separately and making tables etc.. no such thing as a straight paste I’m afraid. That would be too damn easy. I’m pasting the content but it needs totally reformatting so it only helps a little. 😦 Damn people and their oddness.

  14. trigimper Says:

    I just had an a ha moment at the pool. Let me guess, you can paste into Word where it creates a table, but the formatting is hosed so you have to go back to excel and re-format there ?

    You can try exporting the excel as a csv and importing it into Openoffice (www.openoffice.com), then move it from their spreadsheet to word processor (their inter application integration is what Microsh&t should be able to do). Then once you are happy with it save it as a word file.

    I know I sound like a geek, but I needed something other than my usual thought processes on my swim workout. (not repeatable in polite company)

  15. The Guv'ner Says:

    Sounds good but like a lot of work that way too. The thing’s formatting even in excel is shocking – they’ve tried to put tons of bullets and numbers in the text blocks in the cell and it’s haywire. STUPID THING! Still I’m half way through converting and formatting. Only been doing it since 10am dammit. Six hours for this nonsense. And still going. Thanks for the hints!

    Damn you and the POOL. I want to be in the POOL.

  16. mindy Says:

    You know, I am considering starting a charity that would benefit my blog. Perhaps you could join me and we could get people to donate everything in booze…? I bet our blogs would be REALLY fun to read if we did that. Think about it and get back to me when you can. I’ll need the answer in the form of an excel formula, however.

  17. The Guv'ner Says:

    Mindy: How about this:


    Nice and simple and quite lovely. 🙂

  18. trigimper Says:

    It does though make you wonder how Catherinette’s Valentine’s Day plans would work out as Excel ?


  19. The Guv'ner Says:

    Hahaha I think Catherinette’s v-day would be more complicated than that for sure, but you’re on the right track! 🙂

  20. pistols at dawn Says:

    That’s why I always light my computer on fire the first time they ask me to do some kind of data processing, because it’s too expensive for them to ever ask me again.

  21. The Guv'ner Says:

    You know, PAD, I could have used that tip EIGHT HOURS AGO.

    Still not finished. Tomorrow morning will be spent with this beast too.

    Kill me.

  22. Suze Says:

    Booze and hunky man is on the way. Oh yeah, he has cake too. That seems to be the only thing that will get you through this nightmare – that is legal.

  23. The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: Says:

    I’m sure whoever created this spreadsheet was patted on the back and given a raise by the people in charge who most likely don’t have to use it in any practical way.

    I used to be and am soon to be again – a creator of spreadsheets and am not impressed with Excel fuckery in it’s many forms. It’s supposed to make the data easier to read and use, not make people cry.

    Sometimes when I created beautiful, easy to use reports (especially for the marketing dept) I was
    handed them back and told to “make them POP”. Bells and whistles, fireworks! It’s a spreadsheet people, not a birthday cake. Get yourself a personality and get off my back.

    Sorry… ranting.

  24. So@24 Says:

    Fuck excel! Seriously. Excel.

    Cut that shit down, don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be.

    I LOATHE excel.

  25. trigimper Says:

    In this case, yes Excel blows, it should have been created in Word.

    Excel doesn’t suck, its just a tool, could be an openoffice ss, or a Lotus one..wouldn’t matter.

    The satan (and personally Guv’ner, it wasn’t satan, it was his demon offsrping of a threesome between satan, Celine Dion and Michael Bolton) just used the wrong tool for the job.

    As I sit here doing things in Excel, whining, bitching and harassing my software developers to write it properly in SQL..with a nice pretty php web interface (actually I don’t care, they can write in in Cold Fusion for all I care ;-))

  26. The Guv'ner Says:

    Lady: I too have created many spreadsheets in my time but for calculating stuff and making graphs, NOT for a damn 300 page text document. Yes, you heard me correctly, I’m currently at page 323 in the Word transfer and still have some to do tomorrow. This cannot be sensible in Excel. TSK. Incidentally, one of my peeves is people saying things like “MAKE IT POP!” because Mr. Panty Waist used to say that shit all the time. He was all about appearance and could not care less about substance. IDIOT! 🙂

    SO: Agreed! Boy this sure brought out the Excel haters, huh! Let’s declare war on the damn thing. YEAH!

  27. The Guv'ner Says:

    Tri: I am fine with Excel in the right circumstances – it’s fine for billing spreadsheets for example. 300 page text based status documents however, NO. 🙂 It’s less Excel’s fault than the giant TOOL who made the spreadsheet. Unlike the giant genius who’s recreating it (ME!). HA!

  28. trigimper Says:

    Come the revolution in Tooting, who is first against the wall ?

  29. gizmorox Says:

    Sweet Lord, I’d have probably dug my eyes out with spoons halfway through that. Me & Excel don’t get on so well.

  30. The Guv'ner Says:

    Tri: Wolfie Smith has a lot to answer for!

    Giz: I finally finished it this morning – 380 pages of Word it ended up being. Someone had all that text in a SPREADSHEET. Of course then I had to go through all 380 pages and FORMAT it as none of the formatting pasted over. JOY.

  31. minijonb Says:

    I’ll check in with Q branch and see if an exploding spreadsheet will put D.U. in a coma.

  32. The Guv'ner Says:

    MiniJon: Dude, send a video camera too because that needs to be You Tubed FOR SURE. Maybe when he clicks to open it, it could just make a noise like a firecracker and make his whole computer asplode. That would please me.

  33. The Idea Of Progress Says:

    Excel is the devil. I hate everything to do with it.

    It sucks.

    There. Now I feel better.

  34. The Guv'ner Says:

    IoP: Awesome. It’s like the Anti-Excel club. We should go petition Bill Gates! 🙂

  35. adventurat Says:

    Here’s what you do, babe: highlight the entire spreadsheet. Click Format, Cells. Click on the Alignment tab, and check the “Wrap Text” box in the Text Control area. You can then set your page width.

    Alternatively, copy and paste the damn thing into Word, highlight the resultant Table, click Table, Convert, Table to Text, and do what needs doing from there.

    *sends virtual tequila*

  36. The Guv'ner Says:

    DUDE!!! 🙂

    Like I didn’t do that FIRST. Didn’t work. It was not a wrapping problem. It was a “there is too much text in each box to even view the contents” problem.

  37. Wendy Says:

    Ah, right. In that case, I think the only possible solution is to shout “Fuck me, who created this aberration?” and send it back to them with a polite request to format it for printing.

    About two weeks into this job, I got such an Excel spreadsheet with a similar problem – it was enormous (though mostly numbers) and nobody had done even the basics of formatting it for printing – headers, footers, page numbers, margins, column widths, logical breaks, repeating rows and columns. So I did all that – took me half an hour – and then fired it back at the originator (whom I didn’t know from Adam!) with the suggestion that using this version in future would save six other people half an hour’s unnecessary effort each.

    Nobody’s ever sent me such a dog’s breakfast again. 😉

  38. The Guv'ner Says:

    Wendy: GOOD FOR YOU!

    I should have returned it to the client with “WHAT THE EFF DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO WITH THIS?” but hell, they are the CLIENT and the DU would shit. Although right there is a reason to have done it. Damn.

    It was also created on a Mac which meant much formatting nonsense. It’s not hard to format Excel. It’s quite easy. Just don’t do a 380 page text document in it and I won’t kill you.

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