1530.0 - ABS Forms Design Standards Manual, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2010  First Issue
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All  
Contents >> Electronic Forms >> Excel Forms >> Pre-Despatch Checks


While aspects of these standards will be of interest to those outside the ABS, they were developed for internal use. As such, some information contained in these standards will not be applicable to an external audience. ABS staff should refer to the Corporate Manuals database for the most recent version of these documents, as some details (names, phone numbers etc.) have been removed from the online version.



Immediately before 'despatch' (i.e. making the Excel form available to the providers), the following checks should be done or repeated.
Ensure the cursor/focus is positioned correctly

For all Excel worksheets, the cursor or focus for data entry is identified by a darker border around the active cell. Ideally it should be positioned in the first data entry cell every time a worksheet is opened, but there is no way, without using tailored code, to control where the focus appears or defaults to on opening a sheet. Therefore, it appears where ever it was when the sheet was saved, which can be very disorientating for users.

The position of the first data entry cell varies, so the standard is to ensure the focus always appears in the top left corner of every worksheet by positioning it there on the final save before distribution. The following are instructions on how to do this:
  1. Open the workbook;
  2. Go to the first sheet and press the Control+Home keys (this should place the cursor in the top left cell);
  3. Go to the next sheet (Control+PageDown or PageUp) and repeat Control+Home, until all sheets are set;
  4. Finally, return to the first sheet (How to Use); and then
  5. Save the Workbook and exit.

    Example of where focus should be:

    Diagram 4.1


Check totalling, where implemented, by entering a 1 in every cell contributing to total or sub-total to ensure that the displayed total equates to the 'sum of 'Qx, ....Qn' note by the total box. This applies particularly when slight changes have been made by moving cells rows to adjust the appearance of the instrument in the display or when an instrument or worksheet has been cloned.

Do a final 'tab-through' to pick up:
  • any unlocked non-data entry cells; and
  • data entry cells that have residual numbers or text in them left over form the construction and testing process.

The final checks should be made by the Subject Matter Area (SMA), because they will recognise totalling or other instrument areas far more quickly that the programmers who have constructed the instrument.

A live print or print preview of the form should be viewed before despatch to ensure that when printed, the page-breaks are appropriate and the Excel form resembles the paper form as closely as practical. In particular, header information should be checked for correct dates, survey name etc. as these are not normally viewed and can become out of date.

For Excel forms it is sometimes necessary to take up more space than will print on an A4 page, in order to be uncluttered on the screen. It is more important for the screen view have an ideal layout, than for printing to be minimised. In most cases, the forms are only printed to keep a hard copy on file once the form has been completed.
Password protecting the workbook

Before sending the workbook to the respondent, the workbook should be password protected in order to keep the form intact and prevent cells from being unlocked, formats lost etc. All cells are defaulted to lock when the sheet is protected. Therefore data entry cells must be 'unlocked' in order to keep them editable.
  • To unlock a cell choose <Format>, <Cells>, <Protection> and untick 'locked'.
  • Once the data entry cells have all been unlocked, protect the sheet or entire workbook by going to <Tools>, <Protection> then <Protect Sheet> or <Protect Workbook>. "Structure" is selected by default, you need to type in a password. Note that there is no way to recover a password once added, so you need to use a standard password for this. Diagram 4.1 shows the protection dialogue box.
The protect workbook dialog from Microsoft Excel that shows the options to protect theworkbook for structure and windows. You can also specify a password
Diagram 4.2

Previous PageNext Page