The Use of Spreadsheets in Engineering

Spreadsheets are everywhere and have become a dominant tool due to their widespread availability and ease of use. Due to the power and flexibility of the humble spreadsheet they are routinely used by the modelling and simulation community.

While the spreadsheet has many benefits the NAFEMS Simulation Data Management Working Group also have a number of concerns about the usage of spreadsheets for modelling and simulation activities including:
  • Errors – widespread acceptance that in the region of 90% of spreadsheets are erroneous. Errors can come from simple typos, errors in formulas, incorrectly referenced ranges etc… ;
  • Inability to easily verify calculations;
  • Lack of security – valuable intellectual property is often embedded in a spreadsheet, do your spreadsheets come with an appropriate level of security?
  • Version control – is everyone using the correct version, can anyone inappropriately modify the sheet?
  • Access control – due to their portability it is not easy to restrict access to a sheet

Before developing advice on how to avoid and address these issues the NAFEMS Simulation Data Management Working Group first would like to identify how the modelling and simulation community are using spreadsheets. To this end we would greatly appreciate your help by completing this survey. Please feel free to forward this survey to as many colleagues as you like – the more data we receive, the more statistically significant the results will be.

As an incentive everyone who completes the survey will be given access to extracts from the NAFEMS Publication "Business Value from Simulation Data Management".
If you submit your email address at the end of the survey we will send you a copy of the survey report summary all complete entries will also be automatically be entered into a draw to win a set of Beatsx in-ear blue tooth headphones.
We expect it to take around 15 minutes of your time.