Home Joe Curran. Software Guy.

You cannot do it all with Excel®

(Well, OK, maybe you can. That's if your name is Mr. Excel or if your Excel knowledge is far beyond that of a mere mortal. Even Microsoft admits you can't manage a complex database with Excel. Why else would they sell Access®?)

Excel is a wonderful application, perhaps the world's most popular piece of software. In fact, Excel is so widely used that if there’s a time-bomb deep somewhere in the Excel code, we're rather certain Western Civilization will end on the day it goes off. It's handy for a variety of simple database applications. But if you're managing a business or customer-relationship database, there are some real limitations:

1. Householding

Any mailing list needs to be householded before sending it off to be mailed. We don't see how the greeting (salutation) and name lines in a mail merge can be properly combined using Excel.

2 Large Databases

If your database is larger than 65,000, then everyone who acceses it will need a recent version of Excel; the pre-2007 Office versions won’t work. And unless you're using a workbook prepared by someone with very advanced Excel knowledge, looking up certain individuals and PACs is slow and complicated.

3. Complex Searches

It takes an extremely advanced knowledge of Excel to enable the kind of searches you can pull from an application designed for your business.

4. It requires an "Excel Guy"

... who might be unreachable at the very moment when the company leadership is in the conference room waiting for an important report. If you're in a system managed by Joe Curran, anyone in the organization who's used the program could probably generate the correct lists and, if not, they could dial Joe and learn how. It's never a good idea to leave mission-critical functions in the hands of only one person.

5. Licensing

If you intend to use an Excel database in multi-user mode, everyone must have a licensed Excel copy.

And if you're still unconvinced, take it from Joe's customers . . .

. . . who usually start with us by handing over a collection of Excel workbooks to be converted into Joe's system. They’ve already made the decision that it can't all be done in Excel.