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Nutrition Informatics Blog



Choosing the Right Tool (Software) for the Job

Choosing the Right Tool (Software) for the Job

John Snyder, DTR, RD

Have you ever watched a mechanic, or maybe your significant other, try to use the wrong tool for the job? It happens all the time. But it is not just mechanics, it is people in general.

Have you ever watched an office assistant try to create a table in Microsoft® Word in order to perform arithmetic calculations? Maybe you even have tried this yourself. It “kinda” works, but not really. The reason it “kinda” works, but not really is because the table function in Microsoft Word was not originally designed to do arithmetic calculations. It was designed to help word processors format displayed information on a page (eg, make text appear directly to the right of a picture.) 

Microsoft® Excel was designed to perform intricate calculations on information displayed in a columnar layout. Can you use Excel to format information on a page? Yeah, kinda-sorta-not really. Can you use Excel as a database? Yeah, kinda-sorta-not-really. That is what Microsoft® Access was designed for.

Grasping the basic design concept for a software package like Word or Excel can prevent purchasing the wrong software package for the job. It also can help determine if a software vendor is fully utilizing existing functionality or if it is necessary to build an entirely new module.

Thank you for reading and remember: Knowing the right answer is not nearly as important as knowing what question to ask next.


Add a Comment
Comments (1):
9/6/2012 2:47:43 AM by Jean M Bouche RD CD

I keep asking the questions to try to get to the right answer! Not sure always what are the questions to ask :) Thanks for your insight, John!

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