Spreadsheet Applications

Category: Production & Objective Test
Type: Individual


Two (2) parts: a production test administered and proctored at a designated school-site prior to the NLC and a 60-minute objective test administered onsite at NLC.

Production Test Competencies: Basic Mathematical Concepts; Data Organization Concepts; Creating Formulas; Functions; Generate Graphs for Analysis Purposes; Pivot Tables; Create Macros; Filter and Extract Data

Objective Test Competencies: Formulas; Functions; Graphics, Charts, and Reports; Pivot Tables and Advanced Tools; Macros and Templates; Filters and Extraction of Data; Format and Print Options; Purpose for Spreadsheets


Production & Objective Test Guidelines
Production Test Guidelines
  • Documents produced for this event must be prepared by the competitor without help from the adviser or any other person.
  • Administration of the production test is determined by the state chair/adviser.
  • No calculators are allowed to be used on the production test.
  • The production score will constitute 85% of the final event score.
  • The production test score will be used to break a tie.
  • Tests must be uploaded online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
Objective Test Guidelines
  • No materials may be brought to the testing site.
  • No calculators may be brought into the testing site; calculators will be provided.
  • Electronic devices must be turned off and out of sight.
  • Bring a writing instrument.
General Guidelines

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 1 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit four (4) entries in all events except LifeSmarts, Virtual Business Finance Challenge, and Virtual Business Management Challenge.
  • Each competitor can only compete in one (1) individual/ team event and one (1) chapter event.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the NLC unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, and Partnership with Business Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (reports, websites, projects, statement of assurance) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged projects and reports must be submitted electronically.
  • All Statements of Assurance must be submitted online.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project).

Additional Materials

Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.


Sample Practice Materials

Format Guide

1. Create basic formulas with addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
2. Use SUM, MIN, MAX, COUNT, PMT, IF and AVERAGE functions while completing a spreadsheet template.
3. Use advanced functions/formulas (payment, future, value, and statistical).
4. Use and change mathematical functions and formulas, including absolute and relative cell references and what-if analysis.
5. Construct arithmetic formulas to solve typical business-oriented problems.
6. Use Lookup Functions and tables (Hookup or VLookup).
7. Create named ranges to be used in formulas and printing.
8. Evaluate formulas and locate invalid data and formulas.
9. Use cells from other worksheets inside a formula.
10. Use the fill handle with formulas.
1. Demonstrate the functions and terminology of spreadsheet software.
2. Open, save, print, and close a spreadsheet.
3. Design, create, and edit spreadsheets using appropriate inputting, editing, and formatting skills.
4. Navigate and enter values, labels, and dates within a worksheet.
5. Demonstrate locking and freezing features.
6. Use wrap text and fill alignment features to make cell entries.
7. Import data from text files (insert, drag, and drop) and other applications.
8. Export data to other applications.
9. Create, edit, and remove a comment.
10. Apply and remove worksheet and workbook protections and security settings.
11. Track changes (highlight, accept, and reject).
12. Insert headers and footers in a spreadsheet.
13. Manipulate multiple worksheets in a workbook.
14. Incorporate spreadsheets in word processing documents.
15. Design and implement a spreadsheet project which includes multiple, integrated spreadsheets.
16. Use help features and reference materials to learn software and solve problems.
Graphics, Charts, and Reports
1. Create and modify charts and graphs to visually represent data.
2. Import graphics elements in spreadsheet.
3. Change colors and apply spot color to graphics and text.
4. Add text boxes.
5. Edit, resize, crop, and manipulate copy and graphics.
6. Enhance and format charts
7. Create embedded charts.
8. Add and format chart arrows.
9. Explode pie charts.
10. Create and format information in reports.
11. Create advanced reports.
Pivot Tables and Advanced Tools
1. Describe use of a pivot table.
2. Create a pivot table.
3. Use Pivot Table autoformat.
4. Trace errors (find and fix errors.).
5. Link spreadsheet data.
6. Link workbooks.
7. Embed objects in spreadsheets.
Macros and Templates
1. Create, record, edit, and run/apply spreadsheet macros.
2. Design, create, and edit a template for application.
3. Add a chart to the template.
4. Save a worksheet as a template.
5. Create a workbook from a template.
Filters and Extraction of Data
1. Sort and filter spreadsheet data for specific information.
2. Sort a list (ascending, descending, etc.).
3. Search a list by more than one criterion.
4. Search a list by using AutoFilter.
5. Search a list using custom filters and operators.
6. Create filters using OR and AND.
7. Create filters using wildcards
8. Filter by numerical values, text, dates, etc.
9. Extract useful information using search queries.
10. Analyze and edit data.
11. Use built in statistical analysis features of spreadsheet software.
12. Import and export data.
Format and Print Options
1. Format cell contents (font, color, alignment, shading, decimal).
2. Insert, delete, copy, and paste cells.
3. Enhance a spreadsheet by using formatting features (column width, justification, and values).
4. Align the data and apply borders and/or shading to a cell or a range of cells.
5. Apply number formats (accounting, currency, and number).
6. Apply automatic formatting to ranges.
7. Apply conditional formats
8. Create and modify custom data formats.
9. Adjust page setup for landscape or portrait layout.
10. Use print preview to view, proofread, and edit the spreadsheet.
11. Print designated areas of the spreadsheet with or without gridlines.
12. Use print scaling options (shrink to fit).
13. Set print specifications for formulas, graphs, worksheets, etc.
Purpose for Spreadsheets
1. Explain spreadsheets and various options.
2. Differentiate among a variety of spreadsheet programs.
3. Organize a problem for solutions with spreadsheet software.
4. Plan and create a spreadsheet from data designed for a specific purpose.
5. Analyze, interpret, and present data.
6. Manipulate spreadsheet data to answer “what if” questions.


NBEA Standards
  • Computation
  • Information Technology
Career Clusters
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Information Techology


States may submit up to 4 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on March 1.


Test: 1 hour
Home-site Production Test: 1 hour