How a Database Differs From a Spreadsheet

How a Database Differs From a Spreadsheet

Data is essential for small and large companies. Business managers and analysts depend on this data for strategies and decisions for the business. Spreadsheet and database perhaps are the two most widely used data storage devices.

The terms are frequently used interchangeably, others may not be able to tell the difference between them, but they’re far from the same. Both are very helpful, but spreadsheets aren’t the best device because they lack a database’s flexibility and capability.

What is a spreadsheet?

A spreadsheet is a computer application that became a standard feature of an office suite, and it’s like having an electronic form of a paper-based accounting worksheet. The majority of companies use spreadsheets instead of keeping paper-based accounts.

The spreadsheet consists of cells, and each cell can store numeric or text data. VisiCalc was the first electronic spreadsheet, and Lotus 1-2-3 was a well-known spreadsheet before the Windows era. Today, MS Excel is the most commonly used digital spreadsheet.

What is a database?

A database is a collection of related information stored electronically. Each database stores data in tables where a user can insert, upgrade, retrieve and remove data using a Database Management System (DBMS). Additionally, a Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is a DBMS based upon the relational model. A programmer can use Structured Query Language (SQL) to do procedures or manipulate information on the database.

What are the key advantages of a database over a spreadsheet?

  • A spreadsheet allows text and numeric characters to be kept in its cells; however, it can not handle other formats such as images and videos. On the other hand, a database can accommodate various files kept in tables and hold larger file sizes. You can likewise organize information into several views and isolate subsets of data at a time.
  • You can type anything by default in a spreadsheet, which could create problems when you or a co-worker enter the wrong data. In databases, you can establish parameters or conditions to validate data inputs that prompt the user regarding the invalid entry. The database offers integrity and order to the data stored in its tables.
  • You can easily share spreadsheets through links or cloud sharing. But, sharing is not as good as collaborating, and spreadsheets fall short when it comes to the latter. There are many highly recommended collaborative software for internal usage today. You can quickly search here for a database editor that enables you to build and maintain your internal tools.
  • Spreadsheets have limited searching and filtering capability. A database can retrieve and organize information a lot quicker through specific parameters. Today, the easiest database program editor is within everyone’s reach, and even non-programmers can use these tools in their work. You may browse the “data made easy” page to learn more about editing tools.

How relevant is a database in today’s workplace?

Database systems run well with Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Whether on a company server or cloud-based, you’ll be able to have a protected and dependable database system. A self hosted database editor enables your system to put an application on your server, store the information in your database, and construct your own web experience.

The Need for HIPAA Compliance

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) establishes the standard for businesses that deal with protected health information (PHI). Healthcare providers must shift to electronic operations; hence, a database system is crucial in the healthcare sector.

Final Thoughts

There are two widely used methods to save the information digitally: a spreadsheet and a database. A spreadsheet works well for accounting tasks; it’s probably written with accountants in mind. However, the database is used in large enterprises covering almost all markets.

However, the main distinction is that the spreadsheet is an application created to help organize, manage, and calculate data. While a database can do all the spreadsheet features, it does more than collect related data and organize them for easy access and manipulation.