Exploration and experimentation are discussed. With spreadsheets, complex calculations can be simplified, intuition can be developed and applications can be studied.

]]>**Editorial note**

Although the present article is not directly concerned with “spreadsheets in education”, the decision to publish it was made on more general grounds. Microsoft Excel has received plenty of bad press concerning its statistical functions over a period of many years, and Microsoft has been slow to address many of these issues. However, the situation appears to have improved significantly since the early publications of McCullough & Wilson in the journal *Computational Statistics & Data Analysis* (references [72] and [73] herein), in which problems with Excel’s statistical functions were highlighted. We have chosen to publish the present article so readers have some more up-to-date information on which to base their decisions. As a final comment, readers should also be aware of the existence of *RExcel*, a port of the statistical package R to Excel as an add-in. It is a free download and is the work of one of our own editorial board members, Emeritus Professor Erich Neuwirth, University of Vienna. Thus, one may have one’s cake and eat it too: the acknowledged accuracy and respectability of R, along with the friendly, well-known interface of Excel.