The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, said that, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” It seems that many people who are more comfortable using MS-Excel use it for things for which it was never designed. MS-Excel is a spreadsheet application used mainly for creating lists and automating calculations. However, many people—especially engineers—seem to prefer it to more suitable applications such as its friend, MS-Word, for creating instruction manuals, quality manuals, and various other documents that would be better created with a word–processing application than a spreadsheet.

The document they create may look fine when printed and serve its initial purpose. However, it can go on to be a translator’s nightmare. When the translation is longer than the original, the translation often doesn’t fit into the same cell, and trying to resize cells or text boxes can result in a total mess, and takes much more time than the same translation would have if a more suitable application had been used to create the original.

Pages don’t flow naturally; text is often broken between various cells, meaning that it is much more difficult—or sometimes impossible—to use a CAT application to speed up the translation work.

So, the end result is frequently a less-than-perfect job that takes more time, and costs more money than it would have, and should have, if the original document had been created with an appropriate application.

Every tool has its purpose. Excel’s purpose is not writing pages and pages of text. Why do you think they named MS-Word “Word”?