Moving from Excel to Coda

#1

I’m starting to build some educational assets to make it easier for Excel gurus to become Coda masters, and I’d love to hear from all of you!

  1. What is the biggest difference for you between Excel and Coda?

  2. What was the hardest thing for you to learn when getting started?

  3. What is the biggest win for you in Coda?

  4. What feature/concept/mindframe was your tipping point to “getting it”?

Looking forward to brainstorming with all of you!

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Key Differences Between Excel and Coda
#2

I :heart: this initiative. As much as I love Excel and know others who will die before letting go of their workbooks, it’s important to adapt to changes in technology, how teams stay productive, and modern workflows. When presented with facts about how to solve a problem or do something more efficiently, you need to let go of what’s comfortable and embrace the change :blush:.

I could write an essay on each of these questions @maria, I’ll try to keep my answers to the point:

What is the biggest difference for you between Excel and Coda?
Initially, it was understanding that there are no cell references with your typical battleship grid. It was tempting at first to try to force write a formula in a single “cell,” but one needs to understand the column object. Now, the biggest difference is understanding the multiple ways of doing a VLOOKUP() in Coda which may include using LOOKUP, FILTER, the “Lookup From Table” column format, and a combination of these formulas/concepts.

What was the hardest thing for you to learn when getting started?
This is still somewhat challenging, but it’s understanding the order in which to write a long chained formula. The only way to understand the order is to play around with the formulas and get a feel for the nuances.

What is the biggest win for you in Coda?
Editing data is bi-directional. This is important with editing tables that are linked as if they were in a relational database. Gone are the days where you have a “source” worksheet and “cover sheets” with PivotTables and summary tables that are built using VLOOKUP(). Not having to edit the raw source worksheet is a huge win.

What feature/concept/mindframe was your tipping point to “getting it”?
At a high level, the relational nature of tables was the biggest concept to “getting it.” Tactically, understanding
FILTER() as the first formula to use when limiting the data that you get back from a table was another important concept (vs. using SUMIF(), COUNTIF(), and other formulas that aggregate based on a predicate).

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#3

Thank you so much @Al_Chen - this is exactly what I was looking for. Also, that article is priceless!

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#4

Tough questions!

What is the biggest difference for you between Excel and Coda?

  • Coda’s modern look and user-friendliness.
  • The need to use formulas at the row/column level only in Coda, instead of cells; when I discovered this kind of spreadsheet formulas (e.g., typing “A:A” once instead of “A1” with a down-copy), for instance in Gsheet conditional formatting, I’ve been hooked instantly and wished I could use it more widely. Same with named formulas/ranges, although I hardly ever used these before Coda due to lack of “Return on Investment”.

What was the hardest thing for you to learn when getting started?
The same as now: wrapping my head around the way Coda formulas work. I’ve been using Excel, LibreOffice, Gsheets and dozens of programming languages for nearly two decades, including low-level and high-level languages, all sorts of editors, and all-over orientations like database/machine/human/object/math/function/declaration/etc.; yet many of the formulas I try in Coda don’t work: sometimes I manage after a few trials, and sometimes I give up due to lack of time.
My next step is to dig into the new Learn section when I have the time and energy :wink:

What is the biggest win for you in Coda?
Modern ground-up redesign of Office-like documents; not merely “yet another spreadsheet tool”.
I realized it while browsing the template gallery with examples of in-text computations within a well-organized document containing both types of documents usually tied together in a project: the written part in “Word”, and the data&intelligence part in “Excel”.
Also, all the bells&whistles that make a difference; for instance, formulas like “bulletedList”.
Special mention to the marketing effort to make it used and continuously enhanced.

What feature/concept/mindframe was your tipping point to “getting it”?
Besides getting the gist of it pretty much right away, I think the “aaah” moment was when I “felt” what Coda’s novelty was, in that it allows for a smoother and higher-level usage; an average person with no knowledge of programming or spreadsheets would feel much more powerful with Coda than with Excel, because Coda may require less “logical cleverness” or “hands-on programming” from its user.

However I should add that I’m not sure I really “got it” yet, in that I haven’t really made the jump; I started with tutorials, then tried a project roadmap and abandoned it; then puzzles. I would be more into Coda if I had nearby colleagues using it (besides the online community), but I find it very hard to convince people to use it, especially since it requires a Gmail account and Chrome, and I don’t have enough time to train my brain to this new mindset of formulas and “all-in-one document”. I’ve been struggling to move people from Microsoft Office or Libre Office to Google Docs/Sheets/etc. even though I’m really convinced by these Google products and I’ve been using them myself since their inception, both personally and professionally.

EDIT: Here are 2 revelations (see my reply in this other thread) that make me feel like I’m “getting it” much more now :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

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