I’m a big fan of computerised forms. In principle. In practice, designing them is hard. Things I hate about the expenses claim I’m filling in right now:

  1. The Excel file contains eighteen other forms in addition to the one I want. As a result, it’s about half a megabyte in size, and takes 2 minutes to open while all the graphics files convert.
  2. The worksheet is protected, so I can’t change that.
  3. There are ten lines in the entry table. I have upwards of 70 receipts.
  4. The worksheet is protected, so I can’t add lines.
  5. The ‘Description’ box, despite being quite sizable, does not allow text to wrap. Thus, descriptions fall out of the box and are obscured.
  6. The worksheet is protected, so I can’t set the text to wrap, or reduce the font size.
  7. The box into which I type my bank account number strips leading zeros. This is unfortunate, since they’re an essential part of my bank account; without them, the payment will fail.
  8. The worksheet is protected, so I can’t correct that.
  9. It would help for cost reporting at the recipients’ end if I could categorise the receipts I’m filing. However, the form was designed for simple overnights and meal costs, not props, video equipment and consumables, workshop catering costs, ferry fees, and so on. So there’s no place to note such additional information.
  10. The worksheet is protected, so I can’t correct this.
  11. If I’d thought a little earlier, I could have opened the file in OpenOffice and fixed all this, since it appears to ignore Excel’s sheet protection stuff. Gaaah!

Heigh-ho. So far, I’m up to £1019.78. Ouchie.

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