You wouldn’t use a fork to eat jelly

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author: Carly Garratt – PASS Co-ordinator, University of Central Lancashire

You could, it’s true. But why would you? It surely takes extra effort, if not at the beginning, then at least when you realise you have left a considerable amount around the side of the pot. What can you do at that point? You’d have to go back, scraping around the sides to gather the leftovers and balance it precariously until you’ve got it to your mouth. Perhaps you’d have to spare some time to gather up anything dropped, and then there’s the clean-up to follow…

It could have been avoided with a spoon.

Similarly, it’s quite rare – perhaps it doesn’t occur at all – for people to create a presentation using Microsoft Word. Why would someone do that with PowerPoint available? Perhaps to allow for annotations, so I wouldn’t say “never”, but for the most part it isn’t an effective use of your time or the software available to you in PowerPoint.

I do wonder, then, why many – perhaps most – people use Microsoft Word when creating tables, whilst Excel sits idly by, often unused but brimming with potential.

Doing this in Word surely takes extra effort, if not at the beginning, then at least when you realise you have to move something from one cell to another. I have watched people retype data into the row above, because they’ve mistyped data into a Word table and had other data in the incorrect place.

Just imagine:

You type.

You delete.

Then you re-type.

Now you’ve decided you need an extra column.

Add data – wait, should that column be on the left or the right?

Insert column, copy data, paste data, delete original data.

Oh bother. Now the widths have changed.

Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? [Sarcasm]

This could be avoided by using Excel for your table. The adjustment of columns and rows (with just a ‘click’ and ‘drag’ of the resizing tool), the switching around of data (drag and drop, or “insert copied cells”), are all made easy to manipulate and restructure the information.

Section five of this LinkedIn Learning course is useful for guidance on this.

What’s more, Microsoft Word provides the option to insert a spreadsheet or table directly from Excel.


Insert tab > Table > Excel Spreadsheet

An Excel tab is opened, allowing you to create a table which is automatically populated in Word. You have all the benefits of creating a table in Excel, with the convenience of embedding it directly into your document.

Why not use Excel for tables?

After all, you wouldn’t use a fork to eat jelly.

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash


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