The author:

David Jaenike

February 24, 2021United StatesBlog

Google Sheets > Excel. Safety edition.

The biggest reason?👇

When it comes to user interface there’s no comparison. Google Sheets takes a far more minimalistic approach when it comes to their interface. And for me, it works. No, you don’t get access to the computational firepower that excel offers, but in the health and safety field it’s rare that you’ll need it. Still not sold?

Let’s build something

What say we take a small sample of BLS injury data and put together some charts. Check out their repository for Injury, illness and fatality data.

BLS Data

Let’s take the non-fatal recordable injuries and fatalities over the past 10 years and plot them up. Data entry is pretty much the same as excel. Enter your headers and your data points...

To create a chart, highlight your data, then just hit the little chart button in the toolbar. Google will automatically pick the chart it thinks is most appropriate, then auto-format the labels. Check it out...

Close, but it needs some work. Let’s add a secondary axis and change the scaling on both axes…

That’s more like it. Looking at the chart we clearly see over the past 10 years fatalities have gone up, and non-fatal injuries have gone down. Mission accomplished, which took all of 45 seconds. I’ll go ahead and share this with the world:

BLS Data - Google Sheet

While this was just a simple example, it highlights that the overall functionality of Google Sheets is nearly identical to excel. If you’re into writing macros Google Sheets uses JavaScript, whereas Excel uses visual basic. I can’t hate too hard on visual basic because it is OG in the coding world, but javascript is much easier to use. Google sheets also offers a pivot table feature. I know the corporate world is still using excel and probably won't be switching anytime soon, but anyone looking to start up a side project in the health and safety field should look to include this in the technology tool chest. You also can’t really beat the price ;)

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