No, I haven't used the data connections with excel to do any updating.
Too bad... saving a step would actually be pretty cool!
Typically I end up with a sheet of data and I just insert columns inbetween the values and enter [ ', ' ] (sans brackets) into the blank cells between the data and then just drag them to the end of my data. If I already have an Excel sheet it is usually the fastest way to do it.
I like that idea CrashTech! Hopefully, I'll be able to recall that one some day when it could come in handy!
Why would I switch to textpad (ew?) or emacs (double ew) when I am already in Excel?
Well, if you're already in Excel and doing a relatively simple data massage like adding a comma, then you wouldn't want to open/use another program. Use what works... especially if you're already up and running with it.
Alright, I expected a remark about Emacs, but why did you give TextPad an "ew"? Now you've really crossed the line! =)
[Note: this statement is out of context now because, originally, I had mistakenly written Wordpad, not TextPad. Of course, now I feel somewhat entitled to give CrashTech a hard-time, because on the "ew" scale, Emacs was ranked twice as badly as WordPad!]
Actually, TextPad is a nice, fast editor, with the best mouse-event recording and playback system that I've used*. This type of macro-recording can really save a non-programming friend/co-worker oodles of time (Well, assuming they don't ask you to do it instead, which may not be such a bad thing depending on the co-worker).
A couple of possible examples where Emacs might make massaging data easier come to mind:
(Of course, I'm far from competent in Excel, so a few of these things might actually be easier than I realize)
1) You're given a file to load into the database. One of the column's is a string datatype. Of course, the data hasn't been "cleaned", and in addition to double-quotes at the beginning and end of each strings, some of these strings include double-quotes in the interior. Let's assume the "policy" where you work is to change these interior double-quotes to single-quotes, can you do it (relatively easily) using Excel?
2) Same drill as above... this time you've been tasked with importing data from an old database that didn't meet 1NF. There is a name column with both the first name and last name that needs to be separated into two columns for your database.
3) A column contains floating point data in scientific notation (perhaps, generated from another program) that isn't compatible with your database. Now I'm certain that Excel can convert scientific notation to a decimal format, but can you do something like changing a capital E to a lowercase e and other formating changes within a cell?
*TextPad may not have the best mouse-event recorder in the world, but I don't recall ever having a problem using it. Of course, when I need to record a macro to massage some data, I use Emacs nearly 100% of the time (ie it's open and works well). Also, using keyboard shortcuts seems much less error prone. Plus, Emacs has a large library of "functions", which can save some hassle. Plus, things like search/find/replace are all standard functions in Emacs, and you can easily add "functions" to your Emacs... hence, the "programmable editor" moniker. Although I haven't done it, I would imagine that it is probably pretty easy to add a user-created function to Excel as well.
[Edit: Changed the WordPad errors to TextPad.]