List Spreadsheet Format and Data Types

Sample spreadsheet showing spreadsheet value types

Spreadsheet rows are divided into 3 groups: Headings (First row), Column Metadata (Second Row), Values (Third row onwards). We will examine each one of these below.

Before you continue, please keep the following in mind:

  • A spreadsheet can have a minimum of 1 column and a maximum of 10 columns.
  • A spreadsheet can have a minimum of 3 rows and a maximum of 100 rows.
  • The table must be balanced meaning that each row must have an equal number of cells as the number of heading cells.
  • It is a good practice to place the most important columns first. This is useful because mobile devices and tablets can only display a few columns before the user needs to scroll horizontally.
  • All cells are expected to have data in them. If a cell does not have data at the moment, you can use a dash - or n/a to indicate that.

Headings (First Row)

The first row should have headings as shown image above.

  • Using short headings will help in rendering the final list since they won't take a lot of space and therefore there will not be a lot of horizontal scrolling.

Column Metadata (Second row)

The second column should specify the column metadata as shown in the example in the image above. Values should be in the format type={datatype} e.g. type=image. The number of cells in this row must be equal to the number of cells in the heading row.

Lists columns on The African Exponent can have the following data types:

rank

This should be an integer. e.g. 1. Use this for the column that will contain a rank data type.

number

This should be of the format [a][b]. a can be a text or number that will be displayed in the table while b must be an integer or decimal that will be used to sort this column. e.g. If you want to have a column to display amount in dollars, we need to be able to sort this column from highest to lowest and vice versa, so values would be in the likes of [$1.1][1.1], [$1001][1001], [$0][0] e.t.c.

purenumber

This should be an integer or decimal. e.g. 1 or 1.1.

date

This should be a text. e.g. 2007, 1 July 2007. It is a good practice to include the year. Using date also enables easy sorting of date columns.

text

This should be a text. e.g. Tanzania. Do not use text datatype in columns that are intended to store date. Doing this will break sorting behaviour since the dates will now be sorted as texts rather than dates. Use the date datatype instead.

image

Used to add images. Image must be uploaded to The African Exponent Servers. An easy way to do this is to upload your image in the Edit Profile view where you can use the profile picture uploader to upload image and then get the link.
e.g. https://assets.africanexponent.com/images/africanexponent.devel/general/spreadsheet-sample1509849056101_aspR_2.236_w861_h385_e.png

Values (Third row onwards)

From the third row, you can add your values. A value in a column must conform to that column's datatype. e.g. if the column's datatype is rank, a value like abc is invalid. The number of cells in each row in this group must be equal to the number of cells in the heading row.

  • Using short values will also help in rendering the final list since they won't take a lot of space and therefore there will not be a lot of horizontal scrolling.