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Excel toolbox

1 Introduction

A guide to using Excel applied to the humanitarian context

This toolbox, made up of various modules, aims to provide technical support for the use of Microsoft Excel, and more broadly for Information Management in a humanitarian context. Many of the tips or practices outlined may at times seem obvious but reflect consistent mistakes in the Humanitarian Aid and International Development sector.

It is intended for members of humanitarian organisations who, without being specialised in data analysis or information management, need to collect and analyse data. The toolbox is intended to facilitate the performance of essential tasks and presents the basic principles of database creation and management, as well as descriptive statistics, using MS Excel software. In some cases, data collection and analysis requirements may exceed the scope of this guide.

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Organised and reliable data allows for better-informed and more accurate decisions.

How should the tool be used?

This toolbox has been designed for ease of use: users do not need to read the document from start to finish, the modules are independent, you are thus free to consult the part that interests you as part of a given exercise.

It is structured into six modules to help you master Excel:

We do however recommend that all users read the Mobile Data Collection Toolbox, particularly Section 9. Analyse your data to access tips on how best to perform an analysis of the data collected in your MDC project. It includes information about using online analytics tools, such as the analytics section on the Kobo platform, but also offline analytics tools such as Kobo Excel Analyser and other forms of analytics in Excel.

This toolbox often refers to :


The Excel Toolbox was compiled by the CartONG team, and more particularly by Cindy Balmat and Brice Pruvost.

Created in 2006, CartONG is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) specialised in Information Management whose mission is to put data at the service of humanitarian, development and social action projects. We are dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of field activities, in particular through improved needs assessments and monitoring and evaluation. As a multidisciplinary resource and expertise centre, we support the strategies and operations of our partners. Our teams also support the sector by producing documentation, building capacity and raising awareness of the technical, strategic and ethical challenges of digital technologies.

This toolbox was created as part of the project “Strengthening French-speaking Civil Society Organizations’ (CSOs) program data management” led by CartONG and co-financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) over the 2019-2022 period. For more information, please refer to the article published on our website or contact us by email.


This toolbox is supported by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement - AFD). Nevertheless, the ideas and opinions presented in this toolbox do not necessarily represent those of AFD.

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This toolbox was designed using resources from and The Noun Project.