Excel has earned its reputation as a solid business application, and rightly so. The attraction is that most home users have heard of it, and often have it in their home office, too. The problem is that when people are asked to find a use for it outside of business or number crunching, most people are stumped. It's such a flexible application, there's really no need to pigeonhole it into the realms of something you just do at work with spreadsheets. Spread your Excel wings! You and your family will probably find it could do a lot more for you than you thought. Here are some suggestions on how you can use Excel to help you in daily life.


This is being mentioned many times because of the current economic climate. You can create your own budget and income/expenditure with Excel, from the simplest things such as your kids' pocket money, to making sure that scary pension forecast is made understandable from YOUR end, not just the company you work for. If you use Excel at work, or are trained in the basic functions, it won't take you long to get to grips with calculating routine equations (like dedications from your bank for a car loan or mortgage) or interest on your savings.

Calendars, birthdays and reminders

When you're not using Outlook's calendar, you can also use Excel to plan your days, weeks, year, or even your entire life. This doesn't have to be boring: track your favourite football team's goals, wins and losses, score a chart on how many pounds you're losing on that diet (and reminders when you can have treats). Birthdays and anniversaries scribbled down in a diary (which only serves you if you remember to look at it!) can be a thing of the past, if you have a year planner in Excel synchronised with your daily life.

Project management

Are you trained in project management? Often seen as a business role - think outside of the box. Planning your daughter's wedding is a project - a very big one at that. What about your guest lists? Tracking the gifts? Managing a spreadsheet on who has yet to RSVP for the reception, and your seating plan? It can all be done in Excel.

Lists with data

Making lists is fine in Word, but what if there's data attached to it? Excel is a better option. If you're a record collector, you can record the value of your prized items along with the year, condition, and so on. This would also help in insuring it. Same with your home contents and insurance.

You can couple lists with facilities already mentioned, like keeping track of birthdays - add more data, like phone numbers, addresses and so on. Even better, mail merge the whole lot out for the easiest Christmas Card list ever. Now you can sort your friends by where they live, when their birthday is, whether they're coming to the wedding... the whole purpose is to make data that would benefit from manipulation.

These are just a few examples of how Excel can go from being a business-orientated number cruncher to a useful tool when managing your life outside the Office. Office by name, but not always by nature means better value for you, and more out of your software packages at home.