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Transitioning from Excel - Part 1: Layout
Transitioning from Excel - Part 1: Layout

Understanding the layout differences between Excel and Coda

Updated over a week ago

Since Coda flips the idea of a spreadsheet on its head, we've organized the layout a bit differently. It's a database at heart so you'll find immense power at your finger tips, and a few things that will be a little different from the grid approach of Excel. Let's explore the logic of the Coda interface so you can move quickly to solve your business problems. 

Grids become tables and text together

In Excel, you'll have grid as far as the eye can see. In Coda, you can decide exactly how much Table you want and have it live right next to your text:

What this means for you is that you can perform spreadsheet actions (like building formulas and referencing people and content) anywhere inside your Coda doc. 

Sheets become Pages and Subpages

Instead of organizing your data around sheets, you have levels to play with — Pages and infinite levels of Subpages. A Page or Subpage will behave similarly to a sheet, and you can collect as many Subpages as you like into top-level Pages, making it easy to create a hierarchy inside of your Coda doc.

Ribbons become contextual menus

In Excel, you use the Ribbon for all editing, and in Coda we give you customized menus in context for each object you're trying to work with (think tables, columns, and the doc itself) so you get the most relevant options. 

At the top of the doc, you'll see a menu where you'll go to add content to your doc (under the plus sign), or edit the text-based part of your doc:

Every Table has its own options as well so you can customize it to your heart's content:

These options include:

And each Column in your Table has a suite of customization options as well. Depending on how you wish to format your column (by people, date, duration, text, etc.), you'll have format-specific options under Format column:

Formulas are in line with your work not pinned to the top

If you are ready to add a formula, be it to a column or to the text of your doc, simply type the = sign to get started. If you ever want to revisit your formula structure, hover over the result to edit:

If you plan on using a certain formula frequently in your doc, you can click the dropdown in the formula editor to name it making it easy for you to call on it at a moment's notice:

Linking and copying becomes bidirectional views

Views in Coda are one of the biggest differences in the way you'll work with your data. If you want to see Table data in different ways you'll create a View. 

Once you do, you can filter or change the layout to meet your needs. Then any updates you make in the core Table or the View automatically updates the accompanying location. That way, everything stays up-to-date while giving you the flexibility to slice and dice to answer any and all questions you have about your data.

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