A couple of days ago, doing a routine tasks of analyzing how well our tools were finding Linux kernel bugs, I was to check a large table.

I was to check if there are correlations in values each row between columns A, B, and C that weren't adjacent. The hypothesis was, like "if there is a 1 in B, there should be 1 in either A, or C". However, the table had a lot of rows and columns; so many, that it didn't fit into the screen neither vertically, nor horizontally, so I was quickly getting lost in determining which column is what.

The obvious idea would be to automate this task. However, the data representation wasn't nice enough for automated analysis. First, the table was a page in a browser. Second, there were certain tricky javascripts involved, which prevented me from copying it and pasting to a spreadsheet program or to a plain CSV text file. Also, the table wasn't large enough to implement a script to do the checking, so I started to doing the check manually.

So I called my old friend, Mrs. Violet Page from Penn&Paper's Solutions™. Violet already introduced one of the products to the readers. I asked her if her company has something to offer to me to simplify this daunting task of browsing a big table—and they really had something to offer me!

Table Scroll Sanitizer

The tool they offered was the Table Scroll Sanitizer. The instructions are simple: just touch the relevant columns with the pen tool, and apply the resultant sheet to the browser window:

This way, the sheet you've created won't move when you scroll, and thus you'll always see the columns you're interested in marked. This made the tedious analysis assignment much less tiresome, and my performance had an upheaval.

Free implementation

However, our company wasn't satisfied with the price of this wonderfull Penn&Paper's product. Its price was totally inacceptable: it was just too small for our accountants to bother with arranging the purchase! That's why I decided to make a free implementation, which is both easy to use and free. Here's a screenshot:

Just open a text editor, arrange the marks like you would do with the Table Scroll Sanitizer, and place it right below (or on top of) the broswer, and it also won't move when you scroll either!

So, if you find yourself in a middle of a large table, and you are lost, you now know what to do. Good luck!