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Types of user

A spreadsheet may have the following types of user:

  • A Viewer looks at the results, but makes no changes. A Viewer may never see the actual spreadsheet, but only printouts of selected parts, but they are still using the spreadsheet.
  • A Player changes input cell values, but doesn’t change formulae and layouts. They may execute macros.
  • A Changer changes formulae and makes minor layout and formatting changes. They correct and enhance the spreadsheet, without making major changes.
  • A Developer makes major changes, writes VBA code, designs and implements the spreadsheet from scratch.
  • An Auditor may change input values. They must understand the working of the spreadsheet and be able to trace the inputs and outputs.

A Reviewer may share the needs of any of the other types of users, depending on what aspects of the spreadsheet they are reviewing. A Tester is essentially like a Player: their role is to check the operation and results of the spreadsheet, without making changes to its operation. For simple spreadsheets there may be no effective difference between many of these roles.

The same person may use the spreadsheet in several different ways during its lifetime. Users are characterized by the role they are playing at the time, rather than by what role they may be capable of playing.


The following external links are relevant: