Hey there stranger!

Sign up to get access.

How to Name Sheet Tabs

About this Tutorial

Organize tabs appropriately to decrease the friction that other users will have when reading or using your spreadsheets.

Video Transcript

 Hello, welcome to this video. It's, um, more of a strategic video. It's not necessarily a technical video about what exactly to do, it's just something to think about when you are, um, creating sheets, especially. This is important for when you're creating sheets that others are going to use on a consistent basis.

Or if you're consistently making sheets, um, that you're trying to share with a wider world. Any type of time when somebody uses a sheet that we've made, we wanna think about, um, how they're interacting with it. And the very first thing that people do is they look at what tabs are available and they try to interact with it.

And, and you have to understand why are they, uh, using your sheet? What are they looking for? Who are they, what is the content and what have you done to make that, uh, easier for them to decrease the friction of using it. , anything they say here is absolutely secondary to whatever your purpose is. Um, you'll know your audience, your content, and what your abilities are far beyond.

What I know right now, and these are just some helpful, um, reminders too, uh, or, or frameworks you can think of. Um, and it's always changing. Um, just very recently I actually saw someone's sheet and they used the term settings here. I've in the past use dropdowns and, um, and I'm gonna change that now.

Because I think settings is a better, uh, term that everyone is very comfortable and understands. That's where, uh, that's a form or a place where we can make changes to the functions of the sheet. So, um, that's like a really, really recent, like this morning kind of thing. I saw that and I was like, wow, this is amazing.

So, um, the first thing is that, We, not mainly, but uh, one of the largest use cases I know of spreadsheets is to share information. But, um, we'll, we'll do a lot of sort of data ming or data crunching, number crunching, and. We'll know so much about that data that we think like, oh, let's just show that data as is.

When in reality we want to have a summary page. Uh, because people who are coming to our sheet on looking at this data don't know everything. They don't want to see a large, uh, black and white photo, uh, photo, um, uh, graph or, or chart, sorry. Um, they just wanna see the numbers they're looking for, right? Uh, if you're doing Google sheets for your boss, or even if you are a boss and you're doing Google sheets for others who need to quickly find the information they want, a summary page can do all that.

It can take away all of the, uh, mental energy to figure out what is important. You can say this is important and this is. , these are the numbers you need to know, and here they are. Um, other terms you could use for this, or maybe dashboard or stats dashboard, maybe if you are, um, consistently using this and, and in your company, there's already the lexicon of a dashboard.

Like, oh, I like if I've done this in the past where a boss letter says, I need a dashboard to, to look at X, Y, and Z, and it's like, okay, then I will label that dashboard because you were looking for a dashboard. When you ask for a dashboard and I give you a summary. , that's not the same thing. So it's important to pick up, um, what people are asking for and name it after that as well.

But other stats, I, I've used this so often, but I don't think it's very, um, conducive. I think it adds a little bit of friction because people don't really like,  stats, like statistics, that sounds heavy. Uh, you might even, you, you might use that if your, uh, company and, and your culture is already like statistics heavy and they know stats.

Oh, that's where I need to figure out where the stats are. Okay, I got it. Um, settings, uh, like I just said earlier in this video, um, in the past I've used the term dropdowns. One of the most often used sort of other sheets that I will reference in, in sheets is for dropdown menus. When I create a dropdown menu, I'll say, okay, pick this range, and I'll just create a, a line in a, um, A one sheet and name that dropdowns and know, okay, if I wanna change the dropdowns, I need to go over to the dropdowns.

But not everybody uses the term dropdowns. I have to do a lot of explaining, a lot of education, and, and that adds a lot of friction. If you just put settings and maybe people will, uh, ultimately realize, like on their own without having to ask, where do I change this? They know, okay. Settings is usually where I can change.

any settings, anything in a, in, in web applications or, or online or in any, uh, software. So maybe let me check settings first before I ask where do I change this? So settings might actually be a really, really good, uh, tool work. I use this tab to label whenever I do a lot of like, number country formulas, math, et cetera.

Um, You can have fun with this, cuz usually I hide this kind of thing. Like I, I'll, I'll hide the tab. I mean, not hide away, like, hide like, uh, like a bad thing. I mean, like, I usually hide, like literally go to hide sheet and uh, it'll be there and it'll be still in, in this here. But, um, it, it does matter because sometimes people will wanna check your work.

Um,  and they might want to, or check your formulas and you can name it anything you want, just as long as you and everyone that you work with understands that what is happening. That's where the work is. That's where the formulas are. That's where the math is. If you wanna know the results, oh, that's another name you can put for summary or results.

I'll add that here. Um, if that's what you're looking for, um, scratch. , I will use this often actually as a tab when I just wanna do like a really quick little data set. Um, scratch, almost, almost always, oh no, sorry, almost never interacts with any other sheet. It's like I, I'll write down some notes. Um, I'll also call this, uh, notes

Um, any but scratch sounds to me like, oh, that doesn't.  impede or imply any work is being done with any of of the other sheets, and I can usually delete that and, and it's actually code for me to know I can always delete this if I need to, like, send the sheet to someone else that may copy it and, and want to use it for their own work.

Scratch is just gonna be extra stuff. They don't, I'll be asked about it later, so I might as well just delete it and I know it, it, it's a message to myself to know, hey, that tab can be deleted and nothing else will be affect. Um, I can write notes on it. I can do little data manipulation if I just wanna check a formula or something.

If, um, strangers are going to be using your sheet and you don't have the ability to. , talk to them, communicate with them, and, and it all has to be in your sheet and you, and you want them to go a particular route. You want to send them down with some instructions. You might call this tab. Instructions Start is a really good way to do this cuz it's the action, the moment that people are starting.

To use your sheet, that's where they have to start. Start here. Read me if you have a developer audience, uh, is a good place to go. Documentation also, if you have a developer audience might be, or the docs you can have fun with it or contents. If it's a writer, um, kind of. Audience, uh, and again, you will know your audience better, but some language that allows them to know that they need to go here first, this is the first place to go when you are opening the sheet.

Um, , and that's the point of that sheet, right? That sheet is gonna tell you instructions. It might have links to other pages. It might have instructions on how to start, how to fill out a quiz, fill out a form, um, feedback. Speaking of feedback, um, if you have a form or if you're getting information, you're calling information from a group of people, but you also want to show them, Hey, here's the information we already.

one impeding. Part of that is that if you have them fill out a form, they don't know what other people have filled out the form. So you can create a, you can just have the Form B called feedback so that people can go there and check it and see, oh, what other feedback is there. You can also call it questions or fact, uh, frequently asked questions, or you could actually use the form answers as the sheet.

You don't need to have a separate sheet that you have to keep. , um, that happens often is we want to keep control of it. So we need to think like, oh, we need to keep control of the information and only show the information, let's the outside. Sometimes we can share what other people feedback and what other people in form, uh, give as a result of forms, if that's okay.

You know, that's okay to make sure that the, in the. , the form inputs that we're getting are all new. Um, yeah, and you can, again, you can name that anything you want and you can use either the form responses itself or um, a curated list of them. Uh, if you wanna keep the actual results or the actual form results, um, separate or hidden for a variety of reasons.

Um, and also, If you are getting comments, I've seen a lot of, um, new sheets recently where they get information instead of a form they use, they give a comment, the ability to comment. This is interesting because it causes less friction for someone to give feedback, but it increases the friction for someone to contain and collect that feedback.

Um, so I would say you should have some page that.  when commenting or call it comments or, uh, how to comment? I would give instructions to the people reading it and who wanna give comments. One, it keeps people from having to comment a ton of times and keep asking, what do I comment here? What do I comment here?

two, it gives people who wouldn't necessarily comment some good based reasons to comment and know, and they know what you're expecting. And so they give, it gives 'em a little impetus to go. Um, and it might create a little bit better information, um, that you are bringing in because you can tell people like, here's what you shouldn't comment, here's how you should comment, blah, blah.

Um, But again, these are just ideas for you to give, um, these labels. And the ultimate idea here is that you wanna make your labels work, uh, workable, useful, , um,  and make sure that the labels are labeled something that people will inherent should inherently know, and how, what action they're taking on that sheet, or if they're taking any action at all.

Um, settings, uh, to me sounds like, oh, I should only go to that sheet if I want to change the settings. So I don't, it, it, it decreases the mental energy I have to. Work or scratch sounds like something like, oh, I don't need to do any work. I just, like, if I'm looking at the sheet just for the stats or summary or dashboard, I don't really have to go to work.

I don't need to. I have, I don't have to go to scratch if I, I'm not looking for it. Start tells me that's where I should start  reading or start reading start here. Um, I should probably read that before doing anything else. Feedback. Oh, I want to comment. I wanna give feedback. Um, I would also, one last note is that if you are asking for feedback and you have a separate page, I would put links all over your other pages to say like, Hey, if you wanna submit your thi uh, submit something here, go to this page first.

If you wanna submit. I've seen people will have a link and they'll say, submit or add your own organization or add your business or something to a list. And it'll go directly to form. And that's fine if, if you want to increase the total amount of information you're getting. But if you want to decrease the, not decrease the total amount, but increase the quality, then have them go to a page or a a tab that gives them in some instructions on how to, um, , uh, give the, their, uh, submit or contribute in some way.

You will, you, it will ultimately cuz it decrease the, uh, total amount, but it will increase the quality, um, of information you get. And, and so it's totally up to you of which. You know, which, uh, lever you want to pull there. If you wanna make it super easy for people to add to it, then just give 'em all edit access.

But you're gonna be spending a lot of time cleaning up that data. Give 'em comment, access. You're gonna be spending a lot of time copy and pasting, set up a page where they get some information and a Google form, and you'll get qual high quality information, but you'll just get less of it. Um, hopefully this is helpful and, um, yeah, start labeling your tabs like on as useful information.