5 Tips for Organizing Your Database

5 Tips for Organizing Your Database

The term “database” sounds more complicated and high-tech than it really is. A database can be (and usually is) something as simple as an online Excel or Google Sheet. Most everyone who has used a computer for school or work has encountered a database, even if it might not have been called that. Using and organizing any database can be made simple if you know a few simple tips and tricks.

 

  1. Use a Code-free System

Anyone who has a working knowledge of Excel or a similar online database can create a new database or edit an old database without knowing how to code at all. Since the average person doesn’t know much about coding, it’s best to opt for a code-free database system. 

However, any database that uses math or money is likely going to need some calculations put into it. These are usually done through some minor commands. There is a wealth of free guides online that can teach employees how to use these mathematical commands. These commands, in most office jobs, are the most advanced action even adjacent to coding an employee will ever have to do.

 

  1. Create Specific Save Names

The best way to organize and keep track of databases, from a file perspective, is to make sure that employees save the databases (whether on a computer or in the Cloud) with a specific save name. Save names like “database 1” or “dog database” just won’t cut it if a business has multiple databases. Instead, try naming the database with the topic of the sheet. Better yet, add the date the database was created to the save name. This will make it much easier for other employees to find the newest copy available.

 

  1. Assign ID Numbers

Within each database, each row and column will have its own data. This data can be composed of words or numbers. All of these fields are entirely customizable. So, while a spreadsheet will not automatically have a column set aside for ID numbers (unless you are using a special template) anyone can create one of these columns. 

An ID number column usually fits best as the first column. They work especially well on spreadsheets that are used to keep track of inventory, clients, and vendors. Each new item, client, or vendor can be given their own ID number when they are added to the spreadsheet. New data points can be added to the bottom of the sheet. This gets rid of the need to rearrange data points if the sheet was previously organized alphabetically or in another way.

 

  1. Commute Data to Tables

All data in a spreadsheet is important in one way or another. However, not all data points are necessary to know in certain situations. Reports and presentations are a couple of examples of times when showing all of a database’s information might not be important. In cases where only some of the data is needed, especially when the data points are being compared in some way, making a table or chart out of the data is helpful.

Most spreadsheet software has a button users can click to automatically make beautiful tables and charts. Once the chart is created, the individual parts can be edited; this includes chart titles, size, colors, and more. Like most other aspects of using online spreadsheets, this does not involve any coding.

 

  1. Enter Data Via Forms

If multiple people need to add items to the same database, but they are not all familiar with using it, then it may be better to have them input their data into the spreadsheet using a form, rather than directly inputting the data. Most people have used a database form without knowing it, as they are often sent out to people who need to fill out information for hospital appointments, hotel stays, and more.

Each form will contain headings or questions that outline which information is needed. Whoever is filling in the form will put their answer in the box next to the heading or question. When he or she is done inputting their information, they click a button that will either input the data into the spreadsheet automatically, or that will send the information to someone who is in charge of the spreadsheet and will put in the information themselves. 

Inputting and organizing information in a database is easier than it sounds. Follow the tips above to make sure your spreadsheets are easy to read and understand. Doing this will make finding data, and making charts and other reports out of the data, much easier.

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