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The term “spreadsheet” might not exactly get you excited, but they’re for far more than making lists and budgets.
What if spreadsheets were able to inspire creativity and help you create something unique? Believe it or not, there are quite a few unique users for spreadsheets that you’ve never considered before (kudos if you’re already taking advantage of these uses).
From creating games to crafting works of art, there’s actually very little you can’t do with spreadsheets if you put your mind to it.
1. Playing Tetris
Who doesn’t love to spend a few minutes (or hours) playing the classic game Tetris? Though this example is from 2013, it’s still an incredible use of spreadsheets. Don’t have Excel? No problem. WPS Office has you covered for free.
While the example above is in black and white, it’s a great start for you to create your own version. You could even create colored blocks, tweak scoring and much more.
2. Creating Works Of Art
Usually you fill spreadsheets with data, not art. However, Tatsuo Horiuchi uses spreadsheets to create stunning works of art. Honestly, it’s hard to believe until you see them for yourself, so go ahead and take a look and then come back here for more inspiration. While it’ll definitely take patience to create images this detailed, it’s definitely more beautiful that your typical charts and graphs.
Mashable also has some simpler artwork to try out for yourself.
3. Play Your Own RPG
If you’ve got time to spare, you could create your own RPG to impress your friends. Cary Walkin, an accountant from Canada, did just this. He created an entire game using just a spreadsheet and macros. It features over 2000 enemies and a story with four possible endings. Not too bad for a seemingly simple spreadsheet.
4. Create Detailed Forms
Okay, so this one might not seem as impressive, but it is a little more useful for everyday use. Use a spreadsheet to create multiple choice questions, gather user feedback or just create fun polls. The Muse explains more on how to do this, plus a few other more mundane uses for spreadsheets.
5. Solve Puzzles
Have you ever been stuck on a particularly difficult Sudoku puzzle? Let a spreadsheet help you solve it. Yes, it’s true. Through some Visual Basic macros, it’s possible to create your own Sudoku solver. Of course, you can just use it create your own Sudoku puzzles.
Desktop Liberation explains how to create your own. Though the steps use Excel, you can create the same tool using the free WPS Office. This could be the perfect way to create custom Sudoku puzzles for friends and family, while ensuring they are possible to solve.
6. Create Animations
Spreadsheets usually seem like static things, but what if you could animate them a bit? You already know you can create incredible art, so take it to the next level. It takes a bit of work, but it’s possible to create simple (and not so simple) animations. Tuts Plus goes through the basics of creating a moving stick figure.
Of course, you can get as creative as you want. While there are other programs to create animations, it is something fun to do, especially if you’re feeling a little bored at work.
7. 3D Graphics Modeling
Sure, you could use a fancy modeling program, or use a free spreadsheet tool like WPS Office. In the same way you can create artwork, you can create 3D graphics. This is perfect for planning layouts for various projects. You could even create 3D images for business cards, banners and logos. Don’t be afraid to get creative.
If you need even more inspiration, check out these projects Mashable has gathered. How many of these are you ready to try right now? Go ahead, take a day and see just how creative you can get with a spreadsheet.