Art360 App Resources

Get the most out of our new app for artists and artists’ estate with some of our additional resources

Preservation Glossary


Materials containing acid will degrade paper, textiles and wood by causing discolouration and embrittlment. Be wary that some materials become acidic when stored in close proximity. Acidic materials have a pH of 7.0 or lower - you can test the acidity of an object with a pH pen.


Lignin is the 'bonding element that holds wood fibres together' - when in contact with paper-based objects it gains an acidity that may cause irreparable damage to objects. Lignin is most commonly found in newspapers which yellow and become brittle quickly, it is also present in most paper glue, pens and stickers. Ensure than anything which touches works in the archive is lignin-free.

Microsoft Excel

What is Excel, and where can I download it?

Excel is a digital spreadsheet created by Microsoft. It allows you to input, organise and manage a range of data, including numbers and text. An Excel spreadsheet can be used to create lists, manage budgets, make calculations and much more. It is an extremely useful tool for archiving, particularly when creating an inventory list and highlighting works to prioritise.

Microsoft Excel is part of a larger Microsoft Office package, which includes Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Mail. Most PC and Mac computers arrive with Microsoft Excel already installed. If you’re not sure whether your computer already has Excel, the thumbnail looks like this:


If you don’t already have Excel, you can explore options for purchasing and downloading the Microsoft Office package through the link below. Note, there are alternative options available online, and in PC or Mac stores for purchasing Microsoft Excel. We recommend exploring your options before making a purchase. Make sure the product you are purchasing is compatible with your device. For example, if your PC is an older model you may not be able to operate the latest version of Excel. You can explore Microsoft Office products here.

How can I use Microsoft Excel to benefit MY archive?

Once you get to grips with the basics, Microsoft Excel can be an incredibly useful tool for archiving. With Excel you can:

  • Build an inventory of artworks and ephemera. Take a look at the Inventory stage of the Art360 app.

  • Highlight your priority objects. Explore the Making Priorities section of the Art360 app.

  • Manage everything in your physical and digital archive in one secure place. If you choose to purchase a database, you can simply export this information – it’s a huge time saver! See Your Physical Archive and Your Digital Archive in the Art360 app to learn more about archiving basics.

What are some basic things you can do in an Excel spreadsheet?

  • Make a spreadsheet with headings, rows and columns. Your spreadsheet can vary in length depending on the degree of information you want to capture.

  • Hide columns when it suits you. This helps to simplify your spreadsheet and makes it easier to navigate high volumes of information. If you’re focussing on a specific aspect of your inventory, for example, hiding columns comes in very handy!

  • Freeze the top pane of your spreadsheet so you can scroll all the way to the bottom of your list without losing track of your headings.

  • Colour code your spreadsheet. For example, you might want to highlight priority objects in certain colours. You can automate this (see our ‘Technical tricks’ below).

  • Calculate totals. For example, you might want to calculate the total number of items in your physical inventory so far. Excel is possibly the quickest and most accurate way of making simple calculations.

  • Create drop-down lists so you don’t have to keep typing and retyping the same thing over and over again. For example, you might want to repeat the names of storage spaces like ‘Box 1’.

  • Place lists in specific orders whilst keeping all your information together. For example, you may want to organise your list by storage type, medium or priority level. Excel lets you do this without throwing your columns into disarray!

  • De-dupe your list. When you’re managing a lot of material, duplications happen. Luckily, Microsoft Excel isn’t susceptible to human error. You can use Excel to double-check and de-dupe your lists.

Our tips are here to get you started, there’s so, so much more you can do with Excel! We’ve put together some technical tricks to help you make the most of Excel:

Create your headings

  • Simply click into an Excel ‘cell’ at the very top of each column. Cells are the blank fields that make up your spreadsheet. Type in heading titles, for example in A1.

Freeze your heading columns

  • Keep your headings visible whilst scrolling through the spreadsheet by ‘Freezing Panes’. Go to ‘View tab’, ‘Freeze panes’ and ‘Freeze top row’. To unfreeze your top row, simply return to the dropdown and click ‘Unfreeze panes’.

  • Making your top row of headings bold is a great way of clarifying your information.

Hide columns

  • Hiding columns is especially useful for navigating a very detailed spreadsheet. To temporarily hide a column, simply right click the column letter i.e. B, and select ‘Hide’ from the drop-down list. You can Un-hide your column in the same way by right clicking on the column letter.

Create dropdown lists

Dropdown lists help you maintain consistency when entering data into your spreadsheet. For example, typing ‘Shelf 5’ one-hundred times may become tiresome fast!

  1. To make a drop-down list, create a new tab in your spreadsheet and label this ‘drop-downs’.

  2. In your new tab, type the list you wish to appear in your drop-down menu i.e. for your ‘Categories’ column this might include, ‘large sketches, notebooks, paintings’.

  3. Return to your main inventory spreadsheet and select the heading for the column your drop-down will apply to. Remember you can only apply drop-down options to blank cells.

  4. In the toolbar above your spreadsheet, click on ‘Data’ and select ‘Data Validation’ (you might need to expand the document to see this option). A pop up should appear with three headings ‘Settings’, ‘Input Message’ and ‘Error Alert’. Stay on ‘Settings’ and under Validation criteria, go to ‘Allow’ and choose ‘List’ from the drop-down.

  5. Next, click the arrow in the ‘Source’ bar. This is where you select your drop-down list and link it to your main spreadsheet. To do this, return to your ‘drop-downs’ tab, highlight your list and click ‘OK’.

  6. If you return to your main spreadsheet, a small arrow should appear next to your heading. If you click on this, your drop-down menu should appear. To apply this drop-down to the entire column, simply click and drag.

Remember if you delete or edit the list in your dropdowns tab, this will be reflected in your main spreadsheet.

Put your data in order

You may want to put one of your columns in a specific order. For example, you might want to view all the objects listed in the category column as ‘paintings’. Putting this column in alphabetical order will help you identify the items you’re searching for - Excel lets you do this with ease!

  1. In your spreadsheet go to ‘Data’

  2. Next click, ‘Sort by’

  3. A pop up will appear, with ‘Sort by’, ‘Sort on’ and ‘Order’. Start by ticking ‘My data has headers’ in the right-hand corner.

  4. In the drop-down list next to ‘Sort by’ choose the column you want to focus on. In the ‘Sort On’ drop-down choose ‘Cell values’. For ‘Order’, you can either choose ‘A-Z’ if you are looking to sort your selected column alphabetically, or you can create a ‘Custom List’, for example numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on.

Make simple calculations

If you have a list of numbers you wish to add together, start by clicking on the blank cell at the bottom of the column you wish to calculate. Go to the ‘Home’ tab in the toolbar and click ‘AutoSum’, then highlight the cells you wish to calculate. Press enter in the blank cell, and the total number should appear. You can calculate the number of items in a list by following the steps below:

  1. Choose a blank cell for showing the result

  2. Type in the following formula: =COUNTIF($A$2:$A$10,"*")

    • The letters refer to the column

    • The numbers refer to the row

    • The star in the speech marks tells the spreadsheet to search for any field or ‘cell’ in that column containing text

  3. Press enter, and the number of cells containing text will appear in the box.

To calculate the number of times a particular word or number appears in your spreadsheet.

  1. Choose a blank cell for showing the result

  2. Type in the following formula: =COUNTIF($A$2:$A$10,"Drawing")

    • The letters refer to the column

    • The numbers refer to the row

    • The text in speech marks the word you are searching for

  3. Press enter, and the number of times the word has appeared in the area you have selected will appear.

De-dupe your spreadsheet

To highlight duplicates in a spreadsheet

  1. Go to ‘Home’ in your toolbar

  2. Select ‘Conditional Formatting’ and in the drop-down menu select, ‘Highlight Cell Rules’

  3. Select ‘Duplicate Values’, a pop up will appear

  4. Select ‘Duplicate’ in the first dropdown

  5. For ‘values with’ select ‘Light Red Fill with Dark Red Text’ or another colour with which to highlight your dupes


Keep it simple:

  • Use consistent language

  • Improve the clarity of your spreadsheet by adding lines. In the toolbar go to ‘Home’, highlight your spreadsheet and under font size select the ‘Border’ icon.

Keep it safe:

  • Save your work as you go!

  • Back up your spreadsheet in at least two places, such as a hard drive, USB or Dropbox.

  • If your spreadsheet contains sensitive information, be conscious of who can access it. If you send an important spreadsheet by email, encrypt it by clicking on ‘File’, ‘Protect Workbook’ and ‘Encrypt with Password’. Be aware however, that if you forget your encryption password, you can’t access the spreadsheet again.