AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



EPE Week: Sara El Choufi on Why Excel is the Coolest Program Ever!

Hello. I’m Sara El Choufi, and I work in Results-based Management at the Global Environment Facility (the GEF), an agency within the World Bank. While most of the work relies on qualitative analysis and pulling out results from ongoing projects, no assessment can ever be complete without numbers. Among other things, I work on data analysis; I try to find new and creative ways to present the thousands of data sets that come out of the GEF to our governing board and council. What does this mean? Simple, when reporting time comes around, I start living and breathing spreadsheets; all day, every day! Two years of daily work with Excel, I find myself learning something new every day, and I realize I have yet to use this program to its full potential.

Excel can be frustrating at times. You just got stuck on multiple arrays when working with a data set of 1,000+ entries, you have managed to replicate entire pivot table without using pivots because your data is too complex, and you Googled your formulas for the 3rd time that week! The good news though is Excel can be programmed to do almost anything you can imagine. That’s when the cool stuff starts. ACDC (as in the band) programmed the first Excel music video! No really, they did! Check it out.

Rad Resource: Excel Everest – a webpage of cool tips and tricks, tutorials, and just plain awesome stuff done with Excel. Excel, as the peeps in Excel Everest would say, “was designed, well, to be rather boring – numbers, charts, pivots, vlookups – more utility than fireworks.”

Rad Resource: Excel Unusual – A Blog for Applied Science, Engineering and Games in Excel. Put out by a group of engineers to share cool ways of solving engineering problems or just interesting modeling of natural phenomena in Excel. Their ideas range from a 3D flight simulator, to an animation of City Light in North America.

Fun Stuff: The most fun I’ve ever had working with Excel (or shall I say NOT working), was when playing Excel games. Excel games range from the basic “name that logo” to the classics such as “Pac Man” and “Tetris”, to most recently, “Angry Birds”, “Fruit Ninja”, and the likes.

Check out games on Games Excel.

So next time you receive a data set and start wondering “how am I going to pull this off with such a basic tool,” think about the versatility of the program, how much can be achieved with it, and how user friendly it is in comparison to any other tool out there.

Clipped from

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Environmental Program Evaluation Week with our colleagues in AEA’s Environmental Program Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our EPE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.



Leave a Reply




To top