Terminology Management using an Excel Sheet – Advantages and Disadvantages

Terminology Management using an Excel Sheet – Advantages and Disadvantages
Many companies manage their terminology internally with a simple Excel sheet. Is this a good solution? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this terminology management method?
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A Typical Example

A company requires translations from time to time and ideally wants the use of unified terminology. A technical documentation employee produces an Excel sheet of the terminology (i.e. terms and their translations) and distributes this as required to colleagues.


The advantages are obvious:

  • Production in Excel is relatively straightforward.
  • Everyone knows this software and it is quick and easy to enter a few terms.
  • When the file is sent out, recipients will have no problems using it.

However, the disadvantages are equally easy to spot.

Disadvantage – No Central Terminology Management

The more often the Excel sheet is sent out, the greater the risk that new terms will be added to one of the copies. If several employees add terms to their copy confusion will soon prevail, with no one knowing which version is the correct one. Different entries can also easily conflict because employees do not know anything about the entries their colleagues are making. Sooner or later every employee will be using a different version.

There is no central terminology management. Nobody knows which copy is the most complete and most up-to-date version of the Excel sheet.

Disadvantage - No Contextual Information

Contextual information is not generally included in an Excel sheet. The following information is extremely important:

  • Who produced the entry?
  • Where does the entry originate (source information)? The context can be very important for understanding a term.
  • Is there a picture for this term? A picture can often say more than 1000 words.

None of this information is included in the Excel sheet.

Disadvantage - No Traceability

If an employee disagrees with an existing entry, it is easy to replace it. This kind of change cannot be traced. It is almost impossible to find out who changed what (whether justifiably or unjustifiably). The old version of the entry is "lost".

An Ideal Alternative to the Excel Sheet

As an ideal alternative to the Excel sheet, PTS provides its customers with Internet-based terminology management - free of charge. This system is 100% traceable. It includes contextual information (including source details, definitions, and much more) and is always up-to-date.

Try out the PTS Terminology Management System here, free of charge.

Contact us now without obligation