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Learning a Desktop Application by Exploration

Part One: Develop Spreadsheet Formulas

This activity provides a decomposition approach to the challenge of converting known mathematical operations into effectively designed and functional spreadsheet formulas. You will use the data file “Timesheet.xlsx.” Before you begin, view the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvkpGPjEgQI

What calculations (the sections highlighted in red) need to be performed?

What are the mathematical operations required for each calculation? (Define the formulas using named variables; e.g., rate times regular hours.)

What are the value assumptions?

Where are those assumptions (raw values) located?

What is the Excel format (e.g., =a1*a2) of the formula?

If the formula is to be duplicated in other rows or columns, what are the absolute and relative cell addresses? (Enter only the top row formulas for the employee “Al” and copy down for the other employees using the fill handle as demonstrated in the video. Enter the sum formula in column B only and copy across for the other columns.)

Part Two: Identify Effective Design Principles in Spreadsheets

Look again at the “Timesheet” workbook and answer the following questions.

Noting that all the raw numbers in the workbook are in the green section, and that the red section contains only formulas that refer to cell addresses (no values), explain in your own words the importance of the “isolation of assumptions” design principle, which states that “all raw values should be entered only once as values, labelled clearly, and thereafter only applied by use of their cell address.”

Describe the difference between absolute and relative cell addresses, give examples of each, and describe how absolute cell addresses are locked in either horizontal or vertical copying.

Submit your responses to the questions above in a Word document named “Excel Design Principles,” along with the completed “Timesheet.xlsx” file.

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