Office For Mac

Party planning in Excel

You are an Excel fanatic. You want to use it all the time. At least I do! You know you could be using it in your daily life, but you haven’t come across the perfect opportunity yet, right?

Let me show you. I was planning my niece’s birthday the other day. My husband and I were going back and forth talking about how many people would be invited, how many adults, what we should buy, etc. I wanted to avoid revising the grocery list every time we changed the headcount! And let’s be honest, I also wanted to keep an eye on how much the party was going to set me back, too!

So I started simple. I created a new spreadsheet and started filling rows with the types of food and drinks that I wanted to buy for the party. Then I added a second column with the number of each of those items. Next, I did a quick Bing search to get an estimate for the price of each item.

Now, the fourth column is a formula – an easy one. I typed the sign “=” in D2, clicked B2, typed the “*” sign, then clicked C2. Voila! D2 now contains the total price of buying 3 bottles of Coke at $1.49 each. Now, if I need to add more or less when the number of participants changes, it will automatically update!

Once I have my formula in D2, I only have to drag the right corner all the way down the column, and the same formula will be copied. Now I can see the total cost of each product.

So far, this seems useful to me, but I still need to know my bottom line. No problem – I’ll convert my data into a table! I select all of my data, click the New button and change the style. Now I have a table in Excel like the example below.

Ok, this is good, but I still want to know how much I’m going to spend on this party. Easy – I click once inside my table to make sure I have it selected, then on the Tables tab, I check “Total Row.” This adds an extra row to my table, which has the title “Total” and shows the total of column D in the last column (i.e., how much this is going to cost me).

The best part is that the fun doesn’t stop there! (Yes, the geek-side of me considers this fun!) I can change all the information being summarized with only one or two clicks.

For example, the total is a bit too expensive, so I want to quickly find the most expensive thing in the list. Clicking on C18, I can display the total row menu icon and select “Max” as the function to apply. I immediately see that there is an $18 item breaking the bank. Time to choose a cheaper cake?

I can even calculate how many total items I need to buy. Seems like I’ll be getting 36 items total on my trip to the supermarket. Now, that is some data I can use to convince hubby to come with me! Nothing like data to convince engineers!

Have you ever used Excel to plan a party? What’s the biggest party you’ve ever planned in Excel? What was the most interesting item you bought?


July 3rd, 2012
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1 Comment
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  1. Boris Ant says:

    Great I will keep using the site

    But still looking for an inexpensive downloadable missing manual for office for Mac 2008