Creating Effective Spreadsheets

Multi-dimensional Spreadsheet Challenge

Multi-Dimensional Spreadsheet Challenge

The Challenge is now closed. See the blog for preliminary results.

The Multi-Dimensional Spreadsheet Challenge is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your spreadsheet building expertise in a situation that is more complex than your usual spreadsheet. Most business spreadsheet use one dimension: time. You probably have developed your own techniques and structures to handle two dimensions (time and region, time and product, etc.) or even three dimensions (time, region and product) using worksheets and repeating blocks of formulas.

Can you handle four dimensions?

Dashboard example with price of 140. (Click to enlarge.)

You are tasked with developing a spreadsheet for the Acme TechnoWidget Company to assist them in tracking their forecasted sales (in units and in value) across product lines (Standard and Deluxe), sectors (Government, Military, Private and Education), regions (N, SE, SW, E and W) for the next 12 months. This is not a design problem, but rather an implementation problem. You will receive the problem case statement along with the list of all 21 variables with either their values (10 data variables) or their formula (21 calculated variables). You will also receive a workbook with the skeleton of the desired dashboard worksheet and all the data values.

Even though the problem only has 21 unique formulas, a variable like MSPR Unit Sales (Unit Sales per month, sector, product and region) has (12x4x2x5) 480 values.

How it works:

Why must you request the kit by email? Because I want to compare the initial interest versus the actual number of submissions.

I will not use your email to communicate with you outside of this challenge.

  1. Request the challenge kit by sending an email to

  2. I will reply with the challenge kit in a zip file. (This is a human managed process, so it may take some time to receive it depending on your time zone.)

  3. Build the spreadsheet. It must be functional with a standard Excel installation. You can check your result with the two images of the Dashboard.

  4. Email it to me by November 30th, midnight (AoE).

Dashboard example with price of 150. (Click to enlarge.)

What do you get from the challenge?

If your work is error-free, you will be listed in the Multi-Dimensional Spreadsheet Challenge Hall of Fame list (unless you request anonymity).

Also, you will have the personal satisfaction of having developed a complex spreadsheet and you can boast about it to your friends, colleagues and clients.

What do I get from the challenge?

I want to analyze how experts develop multi-dimensional spreadsheets.

I intend to present the results at the 2019 EuSpRIG conference.