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Categorization spreadsheet

This article was written by Michael Dew, a Vancouver lawyer who practices civil litigation. Click here for contact information and further details about Michael’s practice. This article provides only information, not legal advice. If you require legal advice you should consult a lawyer. 

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If you use the spreadsheet and find it useful please consider making a small donation to help cover the costs of maintaining this website.
   

Purpose of the spreasheet: Categorizing data

The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet available for download below (see link at the very bottom of this page) contains macros that allow the user to rapidly categorize data. This is done by way of a form that allows one-click entering of category labels into a column in Excel. The different categories of data can then be tallied using the Sumif formula, or used in various other ways.

One obvious application for this spreadsheet is to categorize and tally household expenses, but it could be used for any situation in which a user wishes to categorize / label / tag data into 75 or fewer categories. 

An application for this spreadsheet in the legal context is if one has a long list of expenses that one wants to tally into different categories. For example, in a personal injury claim, one may have a long date ordered list of expense receipts for Physio, Chiropractor, Acupuncture, Massage Therapy, etc.  - the spreadsheet could be used to tag each amount and then tally the amounts in each category.

Security issues
The spreadsheet was developed using macros (programmed in visual basic) and in order for the spreadsheet to operate your security settings in Microsoft Excel must be set to allow macros to run.  To enable macros in Excel 2010 (similar procedures will apply in other versions of Excel) click:
  • File (i.e. the menu on the top left)
  • Options
  • Trust Centre
  • Trust Centre Settings
  • Macro settings
  • Enable all macros
 
Macros can pose a security risk because they make your computer perform certain steps automatically, but are typically only dangerous when made to be that way by a computer programmer with a malicious intention – hence the warning when you change the security settings in Excel. However, the macros available in the spreadsheet available for download on this page are made with good intentions and should not harm your computer.
 
Users downloading and using this spreadsheet do so entirely at their own risk and agree to accept all risks associated with using the spreadsheet. 
 
The spreadsheet is open and users familiar with macros can review the code i.e. the spreadsheet is not locked.