If you’re dealing with a lot of data, one way to organize it is by using a spreadsheet, such as Excel. This is especially useful if you’re interested in data journalism. But the problem for many beginners is where do you start?
Poynter, a resource for journalists in the United States, has a great article by Joshua Hatch on “How journalists can use Excel to organize data for stories.” (It’s part of a series of articles Poynter is posting from Hacks/Hackers featuring How Tos journalists can use.)
Hatch specifically looks at Excel and breaks it down into the following categories:
- Simple formulas;
- Data types;
- Separating columns;
- Using headers;
- Sorting and filtering;
- and Pivot tables.
The article is a bit long but it uses pictures to very, very clearly explain how you can use a spreadsheet. As Hatch says, “Excel (and other spreadsheet programs) are powerful tools and a valuable part of a reporter’s digital arsenal. Although this tutorial is by no means exhaustive, it should enable you to dig into the next spreadsheet you get without fear.”