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Many journalists will tell you they pursued a career in writing in order to avoid using numbers. But as data journalism continues to gain popularity, knowing the correct cell functions to work out percentage differences, for example, has become a growing occupational need.

It is a headache many journalists would rather avoid in fear of getting it wrong. Here to help you master those calculations is Brant Houston, who rounded up eight simple tips on using spreadsheet to do the sums for you, published on GIJN.

This way, not only you will get a correct result, you will also have more time to concentrate on the purpose of your investigation.

"These basic functions and calculations allow journalists to overcome a fear of numbers and to leap into using maths for stories," Houston wrote.

"If the growth of data journalism is anything to go by, the adoption of these new skills benefits both the field and newsrooms, with inquiries that are more accurate, use better comparisons and give greater context."

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