7 Reasons to Use Excel as Your Electronic Logbook

If you’re thinking about starting an electronic logbook, spreadsheet software is the perfect tool for it.  Here are some prime reasons to build your own logbook spreadsheet or find a template already made.

Microsoft-Excel, Apple-Numbers, LibreOffice-Calc, Google-Sheets, the list goes on and on, but they all share the same excellent characteristics for keeping your pilot logbook totaled and up to date.


It’s free

Well… Microsoft Excel isn’t free, but there are free versions such as the Google Drive’s ‘Sheets,’ or my personal favorite, LibreOffice ‘Calc.’  But whatever your preference in spreadsheet software, chances are you already have access to it and won’t have to invest any extra money.


It’s Multi-Platform

All of the above programs and formats can be used on basically any computer or handheld device.


It’s Easy to Import and Export

If you are considering purchasing some professional logbook software, or maybe you’re thinking of canceling your subscription, consider this:

It’s super easy to import from any source into spreadsheet software.  It’s also equally easy to export to multiple formats, such as CSV which can then be imported into other programs.  So, you can also easily change your mind later, and purchase logbook software.  But I doubt you will 😉

Also, when you start flying professionally, your company will probably keep track of your flight hours for you.  The format in which they let you access this data might be different depending on the company, but it’s very easy to sort this out in Excel. You can even create a custom macro to do sorting for you.  With other logbook software, you are pretty much stuck with whatever import functions they offer.


It’s cloud friendly

Keep your spreadsheet file in some type of cloud, Apple, Google Drive, etc., and you can access it from any computer, tablet, or phone. You can also feel better about there being a backup copy out there, on a server somewhere. But maybe keep a copy on a USB drive in some secure underground vault as well.


It’s Completely & Infinitely Customizable:


  • Make it look like your paper logbook

Personally, I think it’s best to keep a paper logbook and a digital logbook. Letting Excel total my pages has helped me find numerous errors in my paper logbook, while keeping a paper logbook has also helped me discover import and data-entry errors within my electronic logbook. They work together quite nicely.


  • Special functions for totals, currency, and quality control

Throughout your training and aviation career, there will be lots of different totals that need to be calculated.  IACRA, insurance forms, job applications, currency, etc.  No matter what needs to be calculated, sorted, or totaled, there is a function capable of doing it.


  • Make cool graphics

Having all of your logbook data collected in a spreadsheet will also let you play with the data in chart form.  You can get as geeky as you want with it!

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