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NewITZone, Computer Enthusiast
Category: Microsoft Office
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Experience:  I have been using Office Pro for 10 years and implemented applications for business use.
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Formerly I used Works database. It became unstable, so I

Customer Question

Formerly I used Works database. It became unstable, so I transferred the information to Excel (2013). I have 70 columns and 2693 rows (and will add more rows weekly, at least monthly). While inputting data to my Excel file, I had sorted and was dealing with just 10 rows or so. After going back to the entire database, I discovered that some of the data shifted, up two rows. Not all of the data, but perhaps from column F through the last one. So A-D were fine, but from then on the data was from two rows below, and this was for the entire database. I tried to then find an uncorrupted Excel file of my data and export that to Access. That worked for about five minutes. When I tried to reopen Access, it said I had too many repeated cells. Well, I need to keep the repeated info for those rows. There may be a hundred rows with certain cells (columns) the same. Then 16 with some exact same information in a few columns. I need my rows to stay frozen. I need to sort by some columns, but to keep all the rows intact. Obviously I am new to both Excel and Access. WHAT software do I use?? Works Spreadsheet seems not to offer enough ways for me to sort and filter. This is just horrible. I need to input, to use, and to trust this data daily. Help!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Microsoft Office
Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** would be glad to assist you today.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

One possible solution I can see would be to shift the cells in the columns that have the data for the rows below. For example for columns F through the last one, you could insert cells and select shift cells down when it asks you.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Oh, I just saw the note that you would like to cancel this request?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

No, that was for a question I posted two times (accidentally) earlier about a keyboard problem. This is a software issue. I'm having to play detective to find when errors have happened. Enter things, enter other things, more and more than recheck to see what may be wrong.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

So, you are having to manually check and re-enter data in your excel file? Or will my suggestion about shifting the cells help?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I have to play detective and constantly check to see if any of the 2000+ rows are showing incorrect data, and at which column. Impossible.

If it was a one-time shift, I'd be fine fixing it. But I cannot see where I caused the problem, so I can't be sure it won't happen again.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Mmm. yes, sounds difficult. May I help any other way?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What would be the most straight-forward, stable software I can use to maintain my data?

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Access is a database application better suited to storing and processing large amounts of data, as opposed to Excel. Though the Excel maximum Worksheet size is 1,048,576 rows by 16,384 columns. So that is quite large. Access will have more flexibility in processing and displaying the data but then will also require more work and skill to use that functionality.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

So, it seems either one would be a viable choice depending on how you want to use it.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Here is an article that presents basic desktop database systems, as opposed to higher end multi-user server solutions: http://databases.about.com/od/administration/a/choosing_a_db.htm

This might help you consider and plan longer term and for growth as well.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Going from Works to Excel to Access may have carried some hidden incapatibilities and introduced the inconsistencies in the data. The characters used to define the fields could have caused problems. Hidden characters in Works could have caused problems when importing into Access, for example, is just a guess, no specific example I could give.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Then would I need to start over? If that is the case, I would happily do that, for all 2000+ rows and 70 columns. If that would keep my data straight.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

I can't say for sure. I will opt out of this question and you can see if another expert has more insight or experience with this specific issue.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

If I do start over, Excel seems easier to me than Access. If I start with a blank Excel database and build "my own" database there, can I count on rows staying "true" ???

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Excel would definitely be easier for you to work with than developing a Access database. I would expect that yes excel files should not corrupt on their own and should be reliable, barring outside influences such as exporting, importing, hardware failure. I would definitely recommend keeping multiple backups, like for the day, for the week, for the month. maybe longer, to ensure that you have a good backup without having to recreate the whole thing.

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

One thing that I have seen when sorting a spreadsheet, if all the columns are not selected, then only the selected columns are sorted and the other columns are then not correct with what should be their rows if they had been sorted with the other columns. Exactly how sorting is done may vary between Excel versions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I do appreciate your input. I'm realizing I need to create a new database. I wonder if there is another program different from Access or Excel, one that would be more like the old Microsoft Works. I would love to sort and not have to worry that only that column would sort, and that seems to be my worst problem right now. I'm considering other software products. What do you think of Primasoft Organizer?

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

I am not familiar with this software. I see on their website that they have a lot of different customized versions for specific applications. For the small library organizer I see some positive reviews. For the Billing Organizer Pro I see one review that does not recommend. Which specific one were you considering?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was thinking Billing Organizer, but I will check out the reviews more closely. What do you think of LibreOffice?

Expert:  Stephen Johnson replied 1 year ago.

Not familiar with LibreOffice specifically but it's origin is in OpenOffice which I have used. OpenOffice has some compatibility issues with Office files in formatting, appearance. For example, with Word and PowerPoint docs some of the fonts and spacing, that type of formatting, is likely to not appear as it would in Office but by itself or without too complicated formatting in documents I was fine with OpenOffice for years.

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