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Tips On Creating A Digital Catalogue With Excel?

 
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Australia
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Posted 04/06/2021   11:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Toevah to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hi. I want to create a digital catalogue for my collection where I can store basic information on each stamp and create notes etc.

Someone in a stamp group mentioned they did this in Excel, but I didn't have the opportunity to ask him how he went about this. I've created one regardless which has columns for basic categories of information like year of issue, colour, series name and so on but it seems very unwieldy, especially once you have more than 270 or so stamps in the category you've created a file for. Is there a better way of doing this?

Thank you
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Posted 04/06/2021   11:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Is there a better way of doing this?


There is, but it comes with a it of expense.
Consider
Keeping a digital image database.
Purchase a scanner
Scan a stamp, all you need to type is the Cat number, the year and value...done
The image tells you all the rest, colour, vignette, centreing. etc

Notes? type out your notes, take a screen shot, save as an image
(using the stamp cat number)

Benefits?
Say you have 10,000 postage stamps, you want to see your Vietnam 30 Xu Stamp with a motorcycle ?

Using Search, you type in 30Xu and up it pops in about half a second.

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Edited by rod222 - 04/06/2021 11:27 pm
Valued Member
Australia
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Posted 04/06/2021   11:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Toevah to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
OK, thanks very much! I think scanners aren't expensive anymore these days. I'll give it a go.
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Posted 04/06/2021   11:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What country do you collect?
I can send you a years set of stamp images
You can have a play around,
You'll need to be a little IT savvy
1. A decent image viewer, they tell me Ifranview is free and decent
(never used it myself)

2. How to build a decent Windows tree to keep all images in their respective countries. The cat number will sort the chronology.

best of luck.



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Posted 04/06/2021   11:51 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Backing up a bit ...
For any job, it is important to select a proper tool.
You say you want a digital catalog of your collection, but...
What is the actual use you expect to get from it? Use at home? Use at Shows? What will it tell you? What you have or what you need? Sortability? Your own images or generic ones? How would this be better than scanning your album? Etc.
My point being, that you seem to be determined to use Excel whether it is the best tool or not.
(And yes, I use Excel to track much of my material.)
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Edited by John Becker - 04/06/2021 11:52 pm
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Posted 04/07/2021   02:50 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One of the primary questions to answer with an Excel 'digital catalog' is how to deal with images.

Excel is, of course, a spreadsheet app so it is great for columns and rows of data. But when it comes to handling images, it sucks.

Placing a handful of images into a spreadsheet is certainly not an issue but a catalog implies having thousands of rows with each having a stamp image. This not only then requires resizing the images to all be the same height (unless you do not mind each row being variable heights which look janky) but more importantly bloats your the size the spreadsheet to huge proportions. Even on powerful computers it can take a longgggg time to open an Excel file that has 2000+ images in it.

Alternately you could use links in one column that 'point' to externally stored jpgs but this solution requires you to click on the link to see that stamp image.

For me, the bottom line is that a spreadsheet is not a good solution for a stamp catalog unless it is all data and no images. If the desire is to have images then moving to a database is a better solution. I recommend a SQL database and avoiding Mickey Mouse desktop database apps like MS Access.
Don
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United States
252 Posts
Posted 04/07/2021   05:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add StatesmanStamper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I second Don's recommendation to use a SQL database for keeping track of your collection. I am currently building one for my collection using SQLite with DB Browser for SQLite as my front end. I considered using SQL Server since I am using that daily at work, but it's far more than I really need.

My only use for spreadsheets is as a convenient data entry point as I am identifying stamps and slipping them into envelopes (each with an identifier). Once done I can then easily import the data into the database.

Being able to find any particular stamp within a minute is an extremely nice feeling.

Dale
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Posted 04/07/2021   11:51 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Conker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am also a convert to a SQL database, Libreoffice Base in my case. I started this as a project to learn SQL but it is now the key to my worldwide collection. From the database you can easily produce in spreadsheet format any data you are currently interested in.
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Australia
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Posted 04/07/2021   8:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Toevah to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks for the ideas - I'll have a look at SQL.
I wasn't 'determined to use Excel whether it was the best tool or not', I just had heard someone say they used Excel and was curious as to how it could be used. Sounds like it may not be the most ideal. I'll look into SQL. Thanks!
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