Doug makes his living in sanitation. It's not the most glamorous job in the world, but it needs doing. He's not alone, of course; Doug works for the local authority in a large, metropolitan city, and the sanitation and public health section is a very substantial operation employing a large and diverse staff. Numerous different situations in many different areas and circumstances need to be monitored, and it's vital that the authority have access to all of the data and analyses to make sure that no problem is permitted to develop.

On top of tending to the daily tasks of looking after the city's well-being, the public health section has also been asked to produce a series of detailed reports to present to central government, as part of a nationwide review and reform of public sanitation services. Doug has been given the job of producing the necessary information, and indeed of making sure that the reports provide the best possible impression of the city - after all, the city doesn't want to be seen to be lagging behind in this most important area.

However, Doug is familiar enough with the work to know that he will need assistance in collating the information, just as he does in his regular work. Fortunately, Microsoft Excel 2010 provides all the tools he needs to forge a team effort that's as effective and cohesive as it is appealing and professional.


Doug expects there to be a huge quantity and variety of data involved, and knows that the finished work will be both more effective and completed more smoothly if he can work in tandem with colleagues, rather than having data submitted to him to be processed. After all, he and his colleagues each bring their own individual specialisms and experience, so it would clearly be advantageous for all to work as one.

And with Excel 2010, it's easier than ever for multiple contributors to work together on the same spreadsheets, analyses and reports. With the Excel Web App add-on, multiple users can co-author spreadsheets in real-time - in other words, when Doug is working on his particular aspect of the information, colleagues in other departments can also be adding to or appending the data simultaneously, and Doug will be able to see instantly what changes have been made. He can also see just who is editing the workbook, allowing him to raise any questions or problems immediately, and ensuring better cooperation throughout the project.

Better results

Of course, Excel provides Doug and his colleagues with much more than just a spreadsheet to work on. All contributors are able to use the software's wide range of tools to analyse and visualise the data, and to ensure that the report is of the highest possible quality and makes the best use of the details involved; with this flexibility, Doug can be confident that each of his colleagues' specialist knowledge and experience will shine through in the completed report.

They can also each use any aspect of the data to produce a range of attractive and professional charts to give a clear illustration of the position of the city's sanitation issues. Whatever the information that needs to be visualised, Excel can provide any kind of chart or diagram to suit the data. Furthermore, Excel 2010 introduces Pivot Charts, making it easier than ever before to ensure that the charts comprise the most compelling data and the most important figures.

Doug and his colleagues can insert graphical analyses directly into the spreadsheet itself. Conditional formatting of data provides an intuitive solution to identifying improving and diminishing figures, or to highlight successes and concerns, either by changing the colour of the data cell or with a range of easily understood symbols (such as stars or traffic lights).

Highlighting the vital information in this way can be managed automatically by Excel with just a couple of clicks. Similarly, Excel 2010 provides SparkLine charts, allowing simple diagrams showing the development of key data to be inserted directly into the spreadsheet.

Being able to work co-author the report makes Doug's job a great deal easier - and also helps to ensure that the report is as effective and informative as possible, and that the consistent progress the city has been making is clear for all to see. He and his colleagues may also benefit from a short training course, helping them to make the most of what Excel 2010 has to offer; certainly, the authority will benefit from such a clear insight into the well-being of its citizens.