USING EXCEL TO ANALYZE NATIONAL SECURITY DATA (PART II)

By BRENDAN McGARRY
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Introduction

The first part of this how-to guide on Excel.

Spreadsheets are hugely helpful for journalists; especially reporters and editors who cover the military and may routinely receive some kind of dataset related to funding, advancements, accidents, casualties, etc.

Spreadsheets can save you time, prevent redundancies and improve the accuracy of your calculations. They’re ideal for figuring out things like: The number X is what percentage of the total? How much did something change from year to year? How often does this happen across the force?

Let’s look at how spreadsheets can be used for examining various categories of active-duty deaths.

NOTE: Depending on your version of Excel and whether you use a PC or a Mac, your screen may look different than demonstrated here, but the basic functionality should be the same.

For this second part of our Excel training, we’re going to be using a different file than we did in Part I: “MRE_OEF_casualties.xlsx.” You can download it by right-clicking on the file name and selecting “Save As.”

This is the casualties list for the war in Afghanistan. The most up-to-date version is available from the Department of Defense: http://nat-sec.me/excel-casualties

The spreadsheet with our data.

Read to go? Let’s dive into FILTERING.