Using spreadsheets in garden planning: Part 3

– Posted in: Acquisitions, How-to, Series, Spreadsheets in Gardening, Wishlist
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In our last part we had finished entering data and were getting ready to sum up. Actually it’s best to create this autosumming Subtotal before you enter much data. That way, you have a good idea how much your wishlist is costing you as you go along.

Creating a Subtotal

The first thing you need to do is make an educated guess as to how many items you’re going to be wanting from this particular merchant. The Subtotal formula will be constructed in a similar fashion to the one calculating total price for an item. First, click on the Formula tab (Figure 1). Figure 1. Click on the Formulas tab Then click on the cell in which you want the Subtotal to appear. Most people would pick a cell in the Total Price column several rows down from the first item, but you could also put it up at the top in an unused column. Shoot, you could even put it both places by copying the formula. We’ll be traditional and put it in the classic place, about 20 rows down (Figure 2).Figure 2. Select the cell for the subtotal
Then click on the word Sum. Now we have to select all the cells we want to be added. That would be F2 through F20, giving us room for 19 items.Figure 3. Selecting the cells to add togetherNotice as you drag your mouse down the column, the cell label increases, showing you the range of cells that are going to be added together (Figure 3). Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture that in a screen shot. When you’ve selected all the cells, stop. Then add the closing parenthesis (Figure 4).Figure 4. Add the closing parenthesis Then press the Tab key on your keyboard, and if all went well, your potential purchases should be added up in the cell you designated. If you left room, you can continue to add new items and the total will automatically be readjusted. Decide not to get something? Zero out the quantity and tab to the next cell. The total is recalculated. Want more or less? Change the quantity, and the rest is changed for you. That’s the real beauty of the spreadsheet.

Final Touches

Let’s label the subtotal so we can pick it out better. And let’s include the box charge so we have a better idea of the total we’re racking up (Figure 5).Figure 5. Label the subtotal and include other charges Calculating the shipping is a bit trickier. We first will have to check if the subtotal is more than $70. If it is, the shipping is 10%. If the subtotal is less than $70, the shipping is a flat $7. And we need to remember that our subtotal cell is F21. The first thing we need to do is get back on the Formula tab.Figure 6. Click on Then select the cell where we want the grand total, as shown in Figure 5. Next, click on the more link at the far right of the list of functions (Figure 6). Figure 7. Choose the When you do that, a list will come up. Choose the Logical category (Figure 7). Then select the IF function. Figure 8. The pattern for our formula Figure 8 shows the pattern for our formula. We need to erase the words that are there and substitute our own values. What we are testing for is whether or not our subtotal is more than $70. So you need to erase the word test and type F21>70. (Keep the comma after the 70.) You don’t have to add the dollar sign because that is added by the formatting. If the subtotal is over $70, what do we do to find the shipping? We multiply by 10%. So, where it says then_value, erase that and type in F21*.10 (leaving the comma once again). And if the subtotal is not over $70, the shipping is a flat $7, so where it says otherwise_value just type 7.Figure 9. Formula for calculating shipping costsWhen you’re all done, it should look like Figure 9. Hit the Tab key and your formula is in place. Woo-hoo!

Now, can you create the Grand Total yourself? (Hint: you need to use the Sum function again.) Mine looks like this now that it’s all done (Figure 10):Figure 10. Final result
Yes, my grand total is bolded green. Why? Because I wanted to be able to see it easily, and I think green is a good color for a gardener’s spreadsheet. The more observant among you might notice that the numbers are different, too. That’s because I decided I wanted to get the Jack-in-the-pulpits from Seneca Hill after all, so I zeroed them out, and the change was immediately registered in my subtotals. View it here.

More Examples

For those of you already familiar with spreadsheets, I’m sure I went into way too much detail. For those of you who have never used a spreadsheet before, I hope I told you enough. If I didn’t, well, you know how to comment, right? I’d like to know if this helps you, as well. I’m going to publish one more part to my tutorial after this, mostly to discuss other ways you can use spreadsheets in garden planning.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

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cyndy January 22, 2007, 6:59 pm

I’ve done just a few spreadsheets, mostly for keeping track of bills and what not. I hadn’t thought to use one for garden planning, so this is great…. My brother is helping me use Excel to develop a pheneology chart…it is slow going but we are getting there…