Signal Processing – On a Spreadsheet?

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In my last post I talked about the different ways you can use a spreadsheet.  I said spreadsheets are not just for budgeting and forecasting, and I gave examples of how spreadsheets are used to monitor operations, employee productivity, sales, etc.

Well, I am a business person, not a scientist so I had no way of realizing that the possible uses of spreadsheets goes far beyond anything I could have imagined.  I just ran across an article where a fellow named Al Williams describes how he uses Google Sheets to create a FIR filter, something that you use for signal processing.

I admit I don't understand it completely but here's the gist of it:  Mr. Williams breaks the process down into mathematical values.  Once that is done, the graphing seems to be (relatively) easy.

Two takeaways, key to creating an effective spreadsheet tool:

  1. Understand the concept.  Mr. Williams clearly understands signal processing.  Before he even puts anything on the spreadsheet he gives thought to the process and how it can be numerically represented.  A good practice, not just for signal processing, but for budgeting, managing operations, or anything you want to manage with a spreadsheet.
  2. Start with the end in mind.  Mr. Williams knows what his output should look like.  This ensures that he will build a proper spreadsheet - if the final result does not look as it should, there is an error in the spreadsheet.  Do the same when you build a spreadsheet - before a single number goes into a single cell, grab a sheet of paper and sketch out what you want the final form to be.  Not only will you better understand your objective, you'll save time building your spreadsheet because you have a clearly defined goal.

If you want to read Mr. Williams' article, click here.

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