Tackling repetitive tasks – the copy & paste

Image of copy and paste buttons

How much time do you spend copying & pasting information?   It’s worth measuring as activities such as these sit so centrally within the working day that we rarely think about the time they take.

They can be made to disappear, especially those involving spreadsheets such as MSExcel and Google Sheets.

Many businesses keep essential information in spreadsheets.  If you are from one, place your data into one workbook and use that to feed the documents that need to make use of it. 

However, rather than copying and pasting between documents you can import data from one workbook into another.  There are several ways to achieve this, however, if you have the latest version of software (best provided through Office 365) then this can be through an import function that does not involve the need for formulae.   

Whenever the source data changes you just need to refresh the import.

The same applies to many of the systems to be found in businesses e.g. CRM, HR & Finance.  It is quite common to see data exported as comma separated text files to then be imported as a block into a spreadsheet.

However, many of them, and those operating in the Cloud in particular, provide Excel connectors permitting a direct import into a spreadsheet.  They may also provide an Application Programming Interface (API) through which you can target specific items of data to be inserted exactly where needed into a document.

If you have to move data around within a spreadsheet the steps involved can be automated.

The instructions required are stored as a Macro.  They can be developed from scratch or created by recording the tasks performed.    

In their simplest form they will simply repeat a task unquestioningly.  More sophisticated versions can detect and respond to changes in the data such as in quantity, format and quality.

The ability for systems in everyday use to share their data are growing all the time.  It means that businesses that want to make better use of their data need not necessarily spend big bucks on new integrated applications.

It’s quite possible that the gains in time and productivity that you seek most can be achieved with the systems you already possess. 

Paul Clarke