Up at 5:30am today I was on a phone call with a small business in Spain (a six hour time difference). They requested a price quote on automating some internal processes using Excel. One item which came up was the usage of unique identifiers in functions like Vlookup. This function uses a “key” to match and pull values from different worksheets. I explained to the potential client that using names as the key would not be ideal for this function as there maybe multiple John Smith’s or John Adams’. A more thorough approach would be using an identifier like an id number. The client proceeded to explain that in Spain names are very unique. A name is a composite of first name, Mother’s last name, Father’s last name and in some cases Grandmother’s last name. These combinations produced a truly unique name which could be used as a “key”. In this country using a name as a key may pass the test.
You’ve heard the saying “when in Rome”, well “when in Spain.”