ITGS Syllabus

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Topic 67

Data Transfer between a database and a spreadsheet by Alex Young

In today’s abundant world of information, one must get to know more about how, when and why transferring information from a database to a spreadsheet is useful. A database is organized through a collection of information stored on to a computer or a CD drive or anything that is portable such as a memory stick and are arranged in a table of columns or rows. A spreadsheet is a table of values which are shown through rows and columns that allows the user to make a formula or insert a graph or place numerical values for necessary purposes.
By the definition of these two words we can clearly see why transferring a database upon a spreadsheet has its advantages.

A database only stores information and therefore might be hard to identify what is what or have a simple understanding what the database is trying to show. For example a spreadsheet can be more useful than a database to show or organize presentations. If a person showed a slide with numbers in no particular order, people will not understand what is going on but with a spreadsheet, we can have a better understanding as we can organize the data with graphs or tables. Another disadvantage with a database is that it cannot make graphs or tables it is only used for storage and therefore database in effect are somewhat limited in what it has to offer.

A program fully dedicated to a database is called Microsoft Access which creates and manages databases. Some database programs only include information in one table which is called a flat database but in Microsoft Access, it can display multiple related tables which are called relational databases.

People familiar with commands (specific instruction on a program to perform a desired action) on a computer can also be used upon databases or keyboard shortcuts can also be used for a more computer savvy user. This is useful as it can cut back on time spent on databases with a few simple commands instead of clicking and trying to find whatever the person is looking for.

A database is useful when a person wants to quickly retrieve information or place a table to another table to show a relationship of some sort. Although Microsoft Access may be useful in these examples, Microsoft Excel is more useful because we can do more with the data we are given. For example, with the data, we could make it into a graph to show a simpler model for people to understand or make equations to come up with the average or any outliers within the range of the data. Excel also allows us to make charts such as a pie chart or a bar chart. In Excel we could also add clip arts (a collection of images, designs, artwork which can be inserted into pages) and copy a graph from on to a different program such as Microsoft Word.

An advantage with a database is for big companies it could be a very useful tool to retrieve the necessary information. For example, if Sony wants to find out how many computers were sold in New York, they would go to wherever the database is stored, type in New York and find where it says “amount of computers sold” for example. As long as the database is organized well in a specific category and is in the right place a person can find whatever information is being looked upon without trouble.

Therefore in conclusion databases are used more for the purpose of storing data to possibly use that information in the future and possibly converting it on to a spreadsheet but a spreadsheet has more features to work with such as a graph or a chart or a clip art which are all models to try and simplify the data being given and lastly being able to make formulas is very important when trying to solve certain calculations involving the use of equations.


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