29 Excel Formula Tips for all Occasions [and proof that PHD readers truly rock]

Posted on August 24th, 2009 in Excel Howtos , Featured , Learn Excel - 12 comments

It is no exaggeration that knowing excel formulas can give you a career boost. From someone starting at the long list of numbers, you can become a data god who can lookup, manipulate and analyze any spreadsheet by learning few excel formulas.

So when our little excel blog hit the 5000 RSS Subscriber milestone, I celebrated the occasion by asking you to share an excel formula through twitter or comments with rest of us. And boy, what an excellent list of formula tips you have shared with us all.

Here is the complete list of entries for the twitter formula contest.

Follow the links next to contributor’s name to see the original twitter post or comment

To return the full Path+Filename of your (saved) workbook

by Dmurphy on PHD comments

To return the full Path+Filename of your (saved) workbook (and dropping the [] characters) to get, for example, C:\Data\ExcelFiles\MyWorkbook.xls: =SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(LEFT(CELL(”filename”,$A$1), FIND(”]”,CELL(”filename”,$A$1))),”[“,””),”]“,””)

Create a Dynamic Range that Grows and Shrinks with Data

by ps62 on twitter [@ps62]

IF($A6=””,””, SUM(OFFSET(Data,$A6-1,StartDateIndex-1,1,NumCols))) – makes stuff dynamic

Find the last cell in a row

by govi on twitter [@govi]

Return last filled cell in a row: =LOOKUP(9,999E+307;A1:IV1)

Cleaning your data (Example, changing the values in a column)

by artjohnson on twitter [@artjohnson]

Excel. Cust name header in C9 and text datalist below. Formula in B9 moves name from C9 to B9. Copy down. =if(isblank(C8),c9,b8)

Extract the month from a date

by Alan on PHD comments

Probably a easier way of doing this , extracting the month from a date as text. A1 is date =TEXT(DATE(0,MONTH(a1),1),”mmmm”)

Clean your text before you lookup

by rushikul on twitter [@rushikul]

=VLOOKUP(CLEAN(TRIM(E20)),F5:G18,2,0). To make sure you are using clear text, as text is most used in vookup_value

Find if two ranges are statistically different

by nandoaires on twitter [@nandoaires]

=IF((1-(1-NORMSDIST(ABS(A1-A2)/SQRT((2*AVERAGE(A1:A2)*(1-AVERAGE(A1:A2)))/(A3))))*2)>0,95;”Different”;”Equals”)

Lookup 3 criteria and return the match

by Alan_xls on twitter [@Alan_xls]

=Index(return,Match(1,(1stRange=criteria1)*(2ndRange=criteria2)*(3rdRange=criteria3),0)) Return result where 3 values match,Array Form

Offset with Match, get data from somewhere else

by Arnab Bose on PHD comments

This formula looks up data from another sheet considering three parameters keeping into account the column A and column B with sub-components (both on another sheet) and matching them up with the heading on both sheets. =OFFSET(’Data Sheet’!$C$1,MATCH(D$2,’Data Sheet’!$A$2:$A$140,0)+MATCH($B5,’Data Sheet’!$B$2:$B$20,0)-1,MATCH(D$3,’Data Sheet’!$C$1:$J$1,0)-1)

Using SUM with multiple conditions

by ps62 on twitter [@ps62]

{=SUM(IF(shoes=”nike”,Units,0))} – array formula – two conditions

VLOOKUP but get values from the left

by bsamson on twitter [@bsamson]

VLookup to return values to the left of the lookup range: =INDEX(SearchRange,MATCH(LookupValue,LookupRange,FALSE))

Getting data from a dynamic range

by Arnab Bose on PHD comments

This formula extracts data from a dynamic data range and returns a zero value if there is an #N/A error. =IF(ISNA(HLOOKUP($A14,Data!$AB$2:$AW$9,MATCH(”P”,Data!$AB$2:$AB$2,0),0)), 0,HLOOKUP($A14,Data!$AB$2:$AW$9,MATCH(”P”,Data!$AB$2:$AB$2,0),0))

Find the difference between maximums of two ranges

by PreetAulakh on twitter [@PreetAulakh]

{=MAX(K5:M5-K4:M4)}, one step formula to determine the max of difference of two ranges! No curly brackets in excel, Cltr+Shift+Enter

Find the top 3 values of a range

by JassiAulakh on twitter [@JassiAulakh]

Large(A1:A100,{1,2,3}). Gives you 3 highest values of a range. Select three cells and enter this formulas. Then Cltr+Shift+Enter

SUMPRODUCT with multiple conditions

by Martin on PHD comments

Here’s my little contribution (previously posted 😉 Named Ranges (should be dynamic, but….) Ship $A$2:$A$8 Captain $B$2:$B$8 flights $C$2:$C$8 in F:F Summary_ship $F$2:$I$2 this 3:3 Summary_Captain $E$3:$E$6 data is in range A1:C8, and summary is in E1:I6. =SUMPRODUCT((Ship=in Summary_ship)*(Captain=this Summary_Captain)*(flights))

Get the name of the workbook

by Dmurphy on PHD comments

To return the name of the workbook only, e.g. MyWorkbook.xls: =MID(CELL(”filename”,$A$1),FIND(”[“,CELL(“filename”,$A$1))+1,FIND(“]“,CELL(”filename”,$A$1))-FIND(”[”,CELL(”filename”,$A$1))-1)

Excel Formula Fun – Should we fight… ?

by chrismelck on twitter [@chrismelck]

=IF(ISERROR(VLOOKUP(WOMD,Iraq,1,FALSE)),”Declare war”,”Declare war anyway”)

More ways to use IF and Then formula

by Olu D. on PHD comments

This formula determines the Active (=”T”) status or otherwise of Employees in an Excel spreadsheet: =IF(AC2=””,”X”,IF(AND(AC2=500000,AD2=””),”T”,IF(AND(AC2500000,AD2?”),”F”,”Pls Enter Leaving Reason!!”)))

Using INDIRECT along with VLOOKUP to make dynamic lookups

by squash86 on twitter [@squash86]

=VLOOKUP(B3, INDIRECT(B36), COLUMN()-1,FALSE) The INDIRECT returns the name of a named range that holds the data table.

Calculate the p-value of a t-statistic [Don’t ask me what it is 😛 ]

by David on PHD comments

=NORMDIST(-1*ABS((Z27-AE27)/AG27),0,1,TRUE). Calculate p-value for t-statistic based on means in Z27 and AE27 and the std err of mean in AG27.

What is on the right side of that string

by aniVy on twitter [@aniVy]

=RIGHT(A1,LEN(A1)-FIND(“-“,A1,1)) – Extracts right side string after a hyphen.

Find frequency distribution of a range of values

by Cody on PHD comments

=FREQUENCY(DY5:DY118,EU4:EU14) for creating frequency distributions. I can’t believe I went so long before discovering that there’s an easy built-in array function that does this. Constructing the distribution by hand was always a pain.

In-cell bar graph

by JohnCorp on twitter [@JohnCorp]

=REPT(“|”,A1/MAX($A$1:$A$5)*30) creates a bar graph from the data in the range a1:a5, change the font to change the look of the graph

Get the name of the current worksheet

by Dmurphy on PHD comments

To return the name fo the current worksheet, e.g. “Sheet1?: =MID(CELL(”filename”,$A$1),FIND(”]”,CELL(”filename”,$A$1))+1, LEN(CELL(”filename”,$A$1))-FIND(”]”,CELL(”filename”,$A$1)))

Excel formula fun – Usetheforce()

by _mikii on twitter [@_mikii]

=usetheforce(choke,”Moff Jerjerrod”)

UDF to calculate to royalty, I am not getting any

by chrislbs on twitter [@chrislbs]

=TieredRoyalty($R$16:$T$19,I5) @r1c1 Uses a UDF to calculate royalty on I5 based on a TierTable in R16:T19, saving nested vlookups

Find the Next Friday the 13th

by S3bast1an on twitter [@S3bast1an]

ARRAYformula – Next Friday 13th is =MIN(IF(((WEEKDAY(TODAY()+ROW(1:1000);2)=5)*(DAY(TODAY()+ROW(1:1000))=13))=1;TODAY()+ROW(1:1000)))

Split first name and last name

by Mahmut on PHD comments

=LEFT(A1,FIND(” “,A1)-1) =RIGHT(A1,LEN(A1)-FIND(” “,A1)) Split first names and last names.

IF with a VLOOKUP

by m4th1337 on twitter [@m4th1337]

=IF(VLOOKUP(C1,’Historical Data’!$A$2:$S$332,4,FALSE)>F1,”-“,IF(VLOOKUP(C1,’Historical Data’!$A$2:$S$332,4,FALSE)

And now for the winners

I wish I had more prizes to give. All the tips are truly marvelous. I have learned several cool uses of excel formulas. But alas, we have only 2 prizes in this contest.

Dashboard bundle from Bonavista Systems goes to Govi

The excel formulas 2007 book by John Walkenbach goes to DMurphy

Both the winners are randomly selected. I have already sent them an e-mail with the further instructions to claim the prizes.

Big thank you to Bonavista Systems, the contest sponsor

I would like to thank Andreas from Bonavista systems for sponsoring the dashboard bundle. Bonavista systems makes some really cool tools for excel dashboards, spark-lines and helps you make cleaner and better looking charts. Checkout their products and know more about them from their site.

Further Resources if you want to learn Excel Formulas


12 Responses to “29 Excel Formula Tips for all Occasions [and proof that PHD readers truly rock]”

  1. Peder Schmedling says:

    Some great contributions here.
    Gotta love the Friday 13th formula 😀

  2. Aires says:

    Great tips from you all! Thanks a lot for sharing! bsamson, particularly you helped me on a terribly annoying task. 🙂

    (BTW, Chandoo, it's not exactly "Find if a range is normally distributed" what my suggestion does. It checks if two proportions are statistically different. I probably gave you a bad explanation on twitter, but it'd be probably better if you fix it here... 🙂 )

  3. John Franco says:

    Great compilation Chandoo

    For the "Clean your text before you lookup"
    =VLOOKUP(CLEAN(TRIM(E20)),F5:G18,2,0)

    I would like to share a method to convert a number-stored-as-text before you lookup:

    =VLOOKUP(E20+0,F5:G18,2,0)

  4. Chandoo says:

    @Peder, yeah, I loved that formula
    @Aires: Sorry, I misunderstood your formula. Corrected the heading now.
    @John.. that is a cool tip.

  5. Eric Lind says:

    Hey Chandoo,

    That p-value formula is really great for a statistics person like me.

    What a p-value essentially is, is the probability that the results obtained from a statistical test aren't valid. So for example, if my p value is .05, there's a 5% probability that my results are wrong.

    You can play with this if you install the Data Analysis Toolpak (which will perform some statistical tests for you AND provide the P Value.)

    Let's say for example I've got two weeks of data (separated into columns) with the number of hours worked per day. I want to find out if the total number of hours I worked in week two were really all the different than week one.

    Week1 Week2
    10 11
    12 9
    9 10
    7 8
    5 8

    Go to Data > Data Analysis > T-Test Assuming Unequal Variances > OK

    In the Variable 1 Box, select the range of data for week 1.
    In the Variable 2 Box, select the range of data for week 2.
    Check "Labels"
    In the Alpha box, select a value (in percentage terms) for how tolerant you are of error.

    .05 is the general standard; that is to say I am willing to accept a 95% level of confidence that my result is accuarate.

    Select a range output.

    Excel calculates a number of results: Average (mean) for each week's data, etc.

    You'll notice however that there are two P Values; one-tail and two-tail. (one tail tests are for > or .05), the number of hours I worked in week two is statistically equivalent to the number of hours I worked in week one.

    So here’s a way you might want to use this. You put up a new entry on your blog. You think it’s the best entry ever! So you pull your webstats for this week and compare it to last week. You gather data for each week on the length of time a visitor spends on your website. The question you’re trying to prove statistically is whether there’s an average increase in the amount of time spent on your website this week as compared to last week (as a result of your fancy new blog post). You can run the same statistical test I illustrated above to find out. Incidentally, it matters very little to the stat test whether the quantity of visitors differs or not.

    Anyhow, the Data Analysis toolpack doesn't perform a lot of stat tests that folks like me would like to have access to. In those cases I have to either use different software, or write some very complicated mathematical formulas. Having this p-value formula makes my life a LOT easier!

    Thanks!

    Eric~

  6. Balaji OS says:

    Fantastic stuf..One line explanation is cool.
    Thanks to all the contributors

    OS

  7. Locke says:

    Take FirstName, MI, LastName in access (you can fix it to work in excel) capitalize first letter of each and lowercase the rest and add ". " if MI exists then same for last name:
    Full Name: Format(Left([FirstName],1),">") & Format(Right([FirstName]),Len([FirstName])-1),"") & ". ","") & Format(Left([LastName],1),">") & Format(Right([LastName],Len([LastName])-1),"<")

    I teach excel, access, etc etc for a living and i have my access students build this formula one step at a time from the inside out to show how formulas can be made even if it looks complicated. Yes I know I could just do IsNull([MI]) and reverse the order in the Iif() function but the point here is to nest as many functions as possible one by one (also I illustrate how it will fail without the Not() as it is)

  8. Johan says:

    Extract the month from a date
    The easiest formula for this is =MONTH(a1)
    It will return a 1 for January, 2 for February etc.

  9. anjali says:

    if in a column we write the value of total person for eg. 10 if we spent 1.33 paise each person then how we get total amount in next column and the result will in round form plzzzzz solve my problem sir................... thank u

  10. Hui... says:

    @Anjali

    If the value 10 is in B2 and 1.33 paise is in C2 the formula in D2 could be =B2*C2

    If the values are a column of values you can copy the formula down by copy/paste or drag the small black handle at the bottom right corner of cell D2

  11. sajid says:

    kindly share with me new forumulas.

  12. Biswajit Baidya says:

    How to convert a figure like 870.70 into 870 but 871.70 into 880 using excel formula ? Please help.

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