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Spreading Holiday Cheer With… Google Spreadsheets?

In the final season of 30 Rock, Liz Lemon finally finds something she can be excited about with her husband: spreadsheets. When her boss hands her an impossible schedule, she dives into the world of extreme organization and suddenly becomes very passionate about it. The show is a comedy and this plot is funny because few people get that excited about spreadsheets and organization. However, most of us can relate to feeling frustrated when our spreadsheets and organizational tools fail us and become an emotional hindrance to mission-critical tasks.

In today’s collaborative workplace, many of our organizational resources are shared through applications like Google Drive. We have come to expect enterprise-grade quality from these applications and Google’s newest spreadsheets do not disappoint. They would make Liz Lemon very excited.

Google Sheets, Google’s newest spreadsheets, allow up to two million cells and have streamlined scrolling, loading, and calculation, according to a recent Google blog post. Most importantly, the spreadsheets can be edited offline. “It makes the notion of using Sheets for meaningful number-crunching a lot more plausible,” said “Technologizer” Harry McCracken in a piece for Time Magazine.

Here are some of the features of Sheets that should excite government employees:

1. Personalized Collaboration

The Filter Views feature “lets you quickly name, save, and share different views of your data. This comes in handy when you’re collaborating so you can sort a spreadsheet without affecting how others see it,” Google said. Collaboration is important, but it should not hamper individual needs in getting the job done. The new Sheets will allow your team to share the same data, but permit each member to analyze it differently based on their needs and preferences.

2. No More Dysfunction

One of the best features of spreadsheets is the automatic number crunching. However, the number crunching users must do to apply the mathematical functions of spreadsheets can leave the best mathletes confused. “New function help and examples guide you as you type, and error highlighting and coloring make it easy to stop and fix mistakes,” Google explained.

3. Offline Accessibility

I mentioned this above, but it deserves emphasis. Government employees often balk at sharing documents online because of reasonable cybersecurity concerns: what if one employee accesses the document with an unsecure WiFi connection? Offline accessibility means that personnel can leverage all of the collaborative features of Google documents, even if they must work offline. “When you reconnect to the Internet, your edits will automatically sync,” Google assured.

Do you use collaborative spreadsheets at your agency? Would Sheets help you do your job better?

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