There is a good reason why scientists in general despise MS Excel. It is cumbersome, non-common-sensical, and the stats cannot be trusted. The graphs are ugly. I am sure it took a lot of hard work to design Excel (and Word), but if I were Charles Simonyi, I would hide the authorship of those two programs as much as possible. Charles went to the Space Station, after all, paying for the ticket out of his own pocket, so there is something much more exciting (and safe) to brag about (not to mention dating Martha Stewart).
There are so many good pieces of software out there, many capable of doing some very complex statistics. For quick simple tests, nothing beats the free online GraphPad QuickCalcs. A few seconds of pasting in the data, click on “Calculate” and the numbers are all there, ready to copy and paste into the manuscript.
I still use CricketGraph (the ancient version 3.0, not anything newer) for drawing graphs as nothing beats its simplicity and the crisp clarity of the graphs. For the stuff in my field, the open source program Circadia, small enough to fit on the old big soft floppies, not updated since 1982, is still a golden standard that no newer software package can begin to match in its ease of use, clarity and ability to do everything a chronobiologist wants to do with data in a matter of few minutes. I wish I did not have to keep an old Mac around just for those two programs (new MacOS cannot read them).
But, darned Excel is the corporate standard. So, I spent the last few days cussing and cursing, being mean to the dog, and generally having a bad time, because I had to use Excel. And I started out all wrong – it was a common-sensical way to do it, but, hey, common sense does not operate here. I consulted people better versed with it to see if I was doing it right. When they said No, I had to start from scratch. And I am still doing it (a day overdue now). And it appears I’ll be doing it all day or longer…. Yuck!