Lately it seems that, more often than not, I am working with at least two spreadsheets open. Don't tell Steve Howard, but I think I've fallen in love with Excel. It seems to make me orders of magnitude more efficient. Not just for crunching numbers, but a wide variety of tasks.
PlanningI first started using Excel for planning when I was in business for myself. The best way I've ever found is just to break the job down into as many smaller tasks as I can, then estimate each one. Excel makes this a breeze.
Now I'm working in more of a team environment, I find that these spreadsheets are even more useful. Need to print out a list of tasks that need to be discussed at the next meeting? Simply filter on all the tasks that are not complete, but have comments (which is where I put the questions I need answered before I can move forward). Need to write a status report? Copy and paste the completed and planned items into an email.
XMLI admit that I'm almost a big a fan of OxygenXML as I am of Excel, so I rarely use Excel for editing XML. But it's not a cheap program, so if your XML-editing needs are simple, you may find that Excel's XML generation tools do a great job.
Code GenerationFlash Builder and other IDE's like IntelliJ do a great job of generating code in many circumstances, but there are a lot of things that Excel does much better when you use formulas, especially when the code is based on data that is coming from a spreadsheet anyway. Here are some of my favorite formulas:
Covert the contents of A1 all to Uppercase: = UPPER(A1)
Wrap the contents of A1 in quotes and append q comma (useful when hard-coding Arrays): = """" & A1 & """" & ","