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  • Writer's pictureImran Din

1-on-1 Relationships (in Excel): One column in hand is often better than two tables.

Let's say you have a process for taking leads to opportunities and you manage that data in Excel.

It may be tempting to create a new table for each set of leads based on their phase in the Sales process however, often adding a Status column to a single list of All Leads may be the way to go.

I get it. You want to view Active Leads seperately from Losts Leads, but is there any difference other than their Status? I'm suggesting keeping both in the same table and adding a column that says their status. This allows you to keep All Leads in the same table, AND have a way to filter out (or in) Lost Leads.

Another way to determine whether something should be a column or needs its own table is to think about it's "relationship" with the other data in the table. If there's only one on each side, then you're probably better off with a column. How many Names does each lead have? How many addresses does a lead have? How many Main Email Addresses? If you answered just one, then you're looking at a 1-to-1 relationship between each lead and their name/address/email. In these scenarios, adding a column is the way to go.

But what if you answered more than one? One-to-Many and Many-to-Many relationships are a bit harder to manage so maybe I'll discuss that later but, for now, just remember when things are simple, Keep Things Simple!

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