Product metrics for spreadsheets — a systematic review

Birgit Hofer, Dietmar Jannach, Patrick Koch, Konstantin Schekotihin, Franz Wotawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Software product metrics allow practitioners to improve their products and to optimize development processes based on quantifiable characteristics of source code. To facilitate similar benefits for spreadsheet programs, researchers proposed various product metrics for spreadsheets over the last decades. However, to our knowledge, no comprehensive overview of those efforts is currently available. In this paper, we close this gap by conducting a literature review of research works that either inherently or explicitly define product metrics for spreadsheets. We scanned five major digital libraries for scientific papers that define or use spreadsheet product metrics. Based on the identified 37 papers, we created a novel catalog of product metrics for spreadsheets. The catalog can be used by practitioners and researchers as a central reference for spreadsheet product metrics. In the paper, we (i) describe the proposed metrics in detail, (ii) report how often and for what purposes the metrics are used, (iii) identify significant discrepancies in the naming and definition of the metrics, and (iv) investigate how the appropriateness of the metrics was evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110910
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Metrics catalog
  • Spreadsheet metrics
  • Spreadsheet metrics survey
  • Spreadsheet product metrics
  • Spreadsheet quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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