From what I can tell this site is mainly (not sure about solely) for the use of reviewing CODE. I am wondering if it will also review code-free spreadsheets for potentially better formulas, or layout of information, or process?

For example could I post a working spreadsheet that looked something like this:

    (A)    (B)    (C)    (D)
(1)  2      4      8    False
(2)  3      1      3    True

Where C has =(A1*B1) and D has =IF(C1<=5,True,False) and I place some conditional formatting that based on formula =$D1 will colour the row.

and have some one review it and say eliminate column D and set your conditional formatting formula to the same formula you were using in D. Have you considers negative values? Do you really want -8 to be true as well?

OR did I miss the purpose of what Code Review is? IF this is not the appropriate site to have the thought process of a spreadsheet reviewed, where is?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Does Can we review spreadsheet formulas? answer your question? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I read that article. It left me confused as some of the things seemed to be in conflict. One of the big things that differentiates my question from this one is this not asking for a review of just a formula or formulae, but also the layout of the spreadsheet and how results of one portion are feeding into another portion. There is a flow to it similar to programming. The whole thing cold be done in VBA, but there is a requirement for it to be VBA. \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ To me, posting a spreadsheet design would fail the first on-topic question: "Does my question contain embedded code?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Phrancis
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phrancis I just found this in the help centre and was about to post that as an answer. Can you put that up as the answer so I can accept it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ to clarify an early comment, there is a word missing from the very end. it should have read "The whole thing could have be done in VBA, but there is a requirement for it to be VBA free." sorry if this lead to confusion. It was too late to edit by the time I noticed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


I would say that posting a spreadsheet for review would fail the first on-topic question: What topics can I ask about here?

Does my question contain embedded code?

That being said, and as discussed in Can we review spreadsheet formulas?, reviewing the formulas themselves, if one feels that their formulas are complex enough they would consider them as "code", can be OK, but the question would have to be tailored as such that you the OP is seeking a review of the formula(s) rather than the spreadsheet itself.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Apparently I do not understand something, why would this type of answer receive a down vote? \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I should add a bit more explanation \$\endgroup\$
    – Phrancis
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ Add a link to the help centre maybe? or maybe it was because I tweaked my question as you were posting your answer and I added Where should a person go for spreadsheet review? \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ahhh that is interesting and maybe I misunderstood that when I read that linked question. So if your spreadsheet is basically going through the process of what code would achieve in pumping out an answer this may be the right place after all. (Ie it steps through a series of sometimes rather complex formulas to achieve a result) \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ It could be, yes. I've seen formulas with pretty high level of complexity that would be comparable to what is traditionally considered as code. \$\endgroup\$
    – Phrancis
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @forward ed Speaking as somebody who freely mixes spreadsheets, functions and VBA, I feel the same way you do about how a well-structured spreadsheet/formula system is functionally identical to formal code, just with many more restrictions. Unfortunately, this is Code Review. However, if you can structure your question to be about a formula (or series of formulae), presented as code for review, I'd be happy to consider it On-Topic. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaz
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ The key (IMO) would be to present it as code which just happens to live in a spreadsheet rather than the VBE. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaz
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ I concur with @Zak, albeit I feel that is addressed thoroughly in the other question I linked in my answer, this was specifically about "Non-code formula spreadsheet" \$\endgroup\$
    – Phrancis
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:54
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ForwardEd I think this question (and its answer) makes a great example of how a formula can be reviewed (and improved!) given enough context (screenshots of the actual worksheet layout, for example). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 19:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I will try a tentative post later today. I will state the objective of the sheet, input parameters, and what my process is to get from point A to point B. I can provide screen shot showing the layout and post the 5 to 9 different formulas with explanation as to what they are SUPPOSED to be doing. Then based on comments I can either leave the question posted or remove it. I understand that it can be difficult to weigh in on special cases especially when speaking in generality or simplified examples as I have this question. What is a complex formula can vary from person to person. \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 20:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have my spreadsheet up for review now. Is this what you had in mind for breaking a spreadsheet down for review or did I miss the boat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 4:27

I also, at first, thought formulas should be off-topic. But, if you consider where else a comprehensive formula review could take place on SE - there is nowhere else.

At superuser you would need to ask several questions about several types of formulas. At SO, I really don't think a long non-complex formula question would be well-received. It would also be off-topic at any of the math or finance SE sites.

That being said, I would think that the up- and down-vote mechanisms here should filter out bad questions that show little effort and aren't specific enough to describe what is supposed to happen and if there's a better way to do it.

That being said, worksheet formulas are an art that some people have mastered and solutions I've seen on other sites are masterpieces and very well may be a huge improvement over even VBA.

Also, I'd like to note, if someone does show up with a bunch of formulas, for the love of god please provide sample data.


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