Understanding and mastering spreadsheets will give you a powerful tool to evaluate current practice performance and predict future performance. Spreadsheets are computer programs that let you create and manipulate data electronically. In a spreadsheet application, each value sits in a cell arranged in rows and columns. You can define what type of data is in each cell and how different cells depend on one another. For example, cell X is defined as the sum of cells A + B. If A=3 and B=4 then X=7. If you change the value of B to 5 then X automatically changes to 8.

Once you have defined the cells and the formulas for linking them together, you can enter your data. It is possible to export data from a practice management system to Excel. You can then modify selected values to see how all the other values change accordingly. This enables you to study various what-if scenarios.

Excel also supports graphics features that enable you to produce charts and graphs from