Seeing as how the pinned advice thread is from 2015 and contains information that’s way out of date, I figured it might be a good idea to make a new one.
To start out, here’s a guide I wrote on how to use the .csv exporter plugin by @Endfinity and Google Sheets to help you run challenges.
Steps 1 and 2 are covered in detail in the csvExporter thread.
Step 1: Install the CSV exporter.
Step 2: In Automation, export your cars to a single .csv file.
For this example, we’ll use the file name CSR148:
Step 3: When you’re done exporting your cars, find the .csv file.
Pressing this button will open the folder where the .csv file should be found.
Step 4: Upload the .csv file to Google Drive and open it with Google Sheets.
This is all you need to do - now (almost) all of the cars’ statistics and design choices are in one sheet, where you can pick through them. Personally, though, there are just too many columns to really work with, so the rest of this guide will be devoted to filtering off and visualizing the data you care about.
Step 5: Create a new sheet.
Step 6: Find some data you care about and paste it into the new sheet.
Copy these columns across first and foremost, just for organization’s sake.
Control+F opens the search box.
Step 7: Wrapup formatting stuff.
Freeze the first row…
…and up to the second column.
Add conditional formatting to help good or bad scores stand out.
Use a reverse color scale for scores where lower is better.
Fill the rest of the sheet with formulas to make calculations easier.
Some final words of advice:
This will never totally replace having Automation open. There are stats you’ll need to go through and manually record. Estimated cost appears nowhere on the sheet. But, even with all this setup, I hope that this both saves you time and, more importantly, makes the process of running a big challenge feel less grating and monotonous and more fun.
I’d advise you to not do this until all of the entries are officially in. With this method, there’s no easy way to add in new entries after the fact - you’ll have to essentially do step six again.
Try to make as few changes to the first sheet with the raw data as possible - you’ll never know when you’ll accidentally edit a number on the second sheet and need to grab it from the first.
One of the most powerful tools for analyzing data is filtering. To create a filter, select your data and click the create filter button under Data:
Sorting A-Z or Z-A will sort all of the numbers from smallest to biggest or vice versa while keeping the data for each car together.
Finally, mess around with conditional formatting. It’s a really powerful tool, and a little knowledge goes a long way.