# Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts

Few weeks ago, someone asked me “What are the top 10 formulas?” That got me thinking.

While each of us have our own list of favorite, most frequently used formulas, there is no standard list of top 10 formulas for everyone. So, today let me attempt that.

*If you want to become a data or business analyst then you must develop good understanding of Excel formulas & become fluent in them.*

A good analyst should be familiar with below 10 formulas to begin with.

### 1. SUMIFS Formula

If you listen *very* carefully, you can hear thousands of managers around the world screaming… *“How many x we did in region A, product B, customer type C in month M?”* right now.

To answer this question without the song and dance of excessive filtering & selecting, you must learn SUMIFS formula.

This magical formula can sum up a set of values that meet several conditions.

The syntax of SUMIFS is like this:

=SUMIFS( what you want to sumup, condition column 1, condition, condition column 2, condition….)

Example:

=SUMIFS(sales, regions, “A”, products, “B”, customer types, “C”, month, “M”)

**Learn more about SUMIFS formula.**

### 2. VLOOKUP Formula

*Pop quiz time ….*

**Which of the below things would bring world to a grinding halt?**

A. Stop digging earth for more oil

B. Let US jump off the fiscal cliff or hit debt ceiling

C. Suddenly VLOOKUP formula stops working in all computers, world-wide, forever

If you answered A or B, then its high time you removed your head from sand and saw the world.

The answer is C (*Well, if all coffee machines in the world unite & miraculously malfunction that would make a mayhem. *But thankfully that option is not there)

VLOOKUP formula lets you search for a value in a table and return a corresponding value. For example you can ask *What is the name of the customer with ID=C00023 *or *How much is the product price for product code =p0089* and VLOOKUP would give you the answers.

The syntax for VLOOKUP is simple.

=VLOOKUP(what you want to lookup, table, column from which you want the output, is your table sorted? )

Example:

=VLOOKUP(“C00023″, customers, 2, false)

*Lookup customer ID C00023 in the first column of customers table and return the value from 2nd column. Assume that customers table is not sorted.*

**Click here to learn more about VLOOKUP Formula.**

Bonus: Comprehensive guide to lookup formulas.

### 3. INDEX+MATCH Formulas

For every 10 people using VLOOKUP, there is someone realizing its most annoying limitation. **VLOOKUP formula can only search on left most column.**

That means, if a table of customers has customer ID in left column and name in right column, when using VLOOKUP, you can search for customer ID only.

*You cannot ask questions like what is the customer ID of “Samuel Jackson” ?*

VLOOKUP would choke and bring your Excel world to a grinding halt.

Thankfully, INDEX+MATCH formulas come to rescue. These 2 beautiful formulas help us lookup on any column and return corresponding value from any other column.

Syntax:

=INDEX(list of values, MATCH(what you want to lookup, lookup column, is your lookup column sorted?))

Example:

=INDEX(customer IDs, MATCH(“Samuel Jackson”, Customer names, 0) )

**Click here to learn more about INDEX & MATCH formulas**.

### 4. IF Formula

*Q: What do you call a business that does not make a single decision?*

A: Government!

Jokes aside, every business needs to make decisions, *even governments!!!* So, how do we model these decisions in Excel.

Using IF formulas of course.

For example, lets say your company decides to give 10% pay hike to all people reading Chandoo.org & 5% hike to rest. Now, how would you express this in Excel?

Simple, we write =IF(employee reads Chandoo.org, “10% hike”, “5% hike”)

The syntax of IF formula is simple:

=IF (condition to test, output for TRUE, output for FALSE)

**Click here to learn more about IF formulas.**

### 5. Nesting Formulas

Unfortunately, businesses do not make simple decisions. They always complicate things. I mean, have you ever read income tax rules?!? Your head starts spinning by the time you reach 2nd paragraph.

To model such complex decisions & situations, you need to **nest formulas***. *

Nesting refers to including one formula with in another formula.

**An example situation:** Give 12% hike to employees who read Chandoo.org at least 3 days a week, Give 10% hike to those who read Chandoo.org at least once a week, for the rest give 5% hike.

**Excel Formula:** =IF(number of times employee reads chandoo.org in a week >=3, “12% hike”, IF( number of times employee reads chandoo.org in a week >0, “10% hike”, “5% hike”))

**You see what we did above? **We used IF formula inside another IF formula. This is nothing but nesting.

You can nest any formula inside another formula almost any number of times.

Nesting formulas helps us express complex business logic & rules with ease. As an analyst, you must learn the art of nesting.

**Lots of nested formula examples & explanations here**.

### 6. Basic Arithmetic Expressions

`=(((123+456)*(789+987)) > ((123-456)/(789-987)))^3 & " time I saw a tiger"`

If you read the above expression and not had to scratch your head once, then you are on way to become an awesome analyst.

Most people jump in to Excel formulas without first learning various basic operators & expressions. Fortunately, learning these requires very little time. Most of us have gone thru basic arithmetic & expressions in school. Here is a summary if you were caught napping in Math 101.

Operator | What it does | Example |
---|---|---|

+ – * / | Basic arithmetic operators. Perform addition, subtraction, multiplication & division | 2+3, 7-2, 9*12, 108/3, 2+3*4-2 |

^ | Power of opetator. Raises something to the power of other value. | 2^3, 9^0.5, PI()^2, EXP(1)^0.5 |

( ) | To define precedence in calculations. Anything included in paranthesis is calcuated first. | (2+3)*(4+5) calcuates 2+3 first, then 4+5 and multiplies both results. |

& | To combine 2 text values | “You are ” & “awesome” returns “You are awesome” |

% | To divide with 100. | 2/4% will give 50 as result. Note: (2/4)% will give 0.5% as result. |

: | Used to specify ranges | A1:B20 refers to the range from cell A1 to B20 |

$ | To lock a reference column or row or both | $A$1 refers to cell A1 all the time. $A1 refers to column A, relative row based on where you use it. For more refer to absolute vs. relative references in Excel. |

[ ] | Used to structurally refer to columns in table | ourSales[month] refers to the month column in the ourSales table. Works only in Excel 2007 or above. Know more about Excel Tables. |

@ | Used to structurally refer to current row values in a table | ourSales[@month] refers to current row’s month value in oursales table. |

{ } | To specify an inline array of values | {1,2,3,4,5} – refers to a the list of values 1,2,3,4,5 |

< > <= >= | Comparison operators. Output will always be boolean – ie TRUE or FALSE. | 2>3 will be FALSE. 99<101 will be TRUE. |

= <> | Equality operators. Check whether 2 values are equal or not equal. Output will TRUE or FALSE | 2=2, “hello”=”hello”, 4<>5 will all return TRUE. |

* ? | Used as wild cards in certain formulas like COUNTIF etc. | COUNTIF(A1:A10, “a*”) counts the values in range A1:A10 starting with a. For more on this refer to COUNTIF & SUMIF in Excel |

SPACE | Intersection operator. Returns the range at intersection of 2 ranges | A1:C4 B2:D5 refers to the intersection or range A1:C4 and B2:D5 and returns B2:C4. Caution: The output will be an array, so you must use it in another formula which takes arrays, like SUM, COUNT etc. |

### 7. Text formulas

While there are more than two dozen text formulas in Excel including the mysterious BHATTEXT (which is used to convert numbers to Thai Bhats, *apparently designed by Excel team so that they could order Thai take out food #*), you do not need to learn all of them. **By learning few very useful TEXT formulas, you can save a ton of time when cleaning data or extracting portions from mountains of text.**

As an aspiring analyst, at-least acquaint your self with below formulas:

- LEFT, RIGHT & MID – to extract portions of text from left, right & middle.
- TRIM – to remove un-necessary spaces from beginning, middle & end of a text.
- SUBSTITUTE – to replace portions of text with something else.
- LEN – to calculate the length of a text
- TEXT – to convert a value to TEXT formatting
- FIND – to find whether something is present in a text, if so at what position

You can find several examples of all these formulas & their users in our site. Just search.

### 8. NETWORKDAYS & WORKDAY Formulas

*“There aren’t enough days in the weekend” – Somebody*

Whether a weekend has enough days or not, as working analyst, you must cope with the working day calculations. For example, if a project takes 180 working days to complete and starts on 16th of January 2013, how would you find the end date?

Thankfully, we do not have to invent a formula for this. Excel has something exactly for this. WORKDAY formula takes a start date & working days and tells you what the end date would be.

Like wise NETWORKDAYS formula tells us how many working days are there between any 2 given dates.

Both these formulas accept a list of additional holidays to consider as well.

- NETWORKDAYS: calculate the number of working days between 2 dates (assuming Saturday, Sunday weekend)
- NETWORKDAYS.INTL: Same as NETWORKDAYS, but lets you use custom weekends [Excel 2010+ only]
- WORKDAY: Calculate the end date from a start date & number of working days
- WORKDAY.INTL: Same as WORKDAY, but lets you use custom weekends. [Excel 2010+ only]

More on working with Date & Time values in Excel.

### 9. SMALL & LARGE Formulas

Almost nobody asks about *“Who was the second person to climb Mt. Everest, or walk on moon or finish 100 mtrs race the fastest?”.*

And yet, all businesses ask questions like *“Who is our 2nd most valuable customer?, third vendor from bottom on invoice delinquency? 4th famous coffee shop in Jamaica?”*

So as analysts our job is to answer these questions with out wasting too much time. That is where SMALL, LARGE formulas come in handy.

- SMALL: Used to find nth smallest value from a list. Use it like =SMALL(range of values, n).
- LARGE: Used to find nth largest value from a list.
- MIN: Gives the minimum value of a list.
- MAX: Gives the maximum value of a list.
- RANK: Finds the rank of a value in a list. Use it like =RANK(value, in this list, order)

### 10. IFERROR Formula

Errors, lousy canteen food & dysfunctional coffee machines are eternal truths of corporate life. While you can always brown bag your lunch & bring a flask of finely brewed coffee to work, there is no escaping when your VLOOKUP #N/As. **Or is there?**

Well, you can always use the lovely IFERROR formula to handle errors in your formulas.

Syntax:

IFERROR(formula, what to do in case of error)

Use it like:

IFERROR(VLOOKUP(….), “Value not found!”)

**Click here to learn more about IFERROR Formula.**

### 3 Bonus Formulas

If you can master the above 10 formulas, you will be ahead of 80% of all Excel analysts. Here are 3 more important formulas that can come handy when doing some serious data analysis work.

- OFFSET formula: to generate dynamic ranges from a starting point and use them elsewhere (in charts, formulas etc.).
- SUMPRODUCT formula: Unleash the full power of Excel array processing by using SUMPRODUCT.
- SUBTOTAL formula: Calculate totals, counts & averages etc. on a range with filters.

### What formulas do you think are important for analysts?

During my days as business analyst, not a single day went by without using Excel. It was an important tool in my journey to become an awesome analyst. I cannot stress the importance of formulas like SUMIFS, VLOOKUP, INDEX, MATCH enough. They play a vital role in analyzing data & presenting outputs.

**What about you?** What formulas do you think are important for analysts? Please share your ideas & tips using comments.

### Want to become an Awesome Analyst? Consider our Excel School program

**If you are a budding analyst or manager**, adding Excel Skills can be a very valuable investment of your time. My **Excel school program is designed to help people like you** to learn various basic & advanced features of Excel & use them to create kick ass reports, trackers & analysis. This program has 24 hours of Excel training, 40 example workbooks & 6 month online access.

**Click here to know more about Excel School**.

### Do you want to be awesome in Excel?

**Here is a smart way to become awesome in Excel**. Just signup for my Excel newsletter. Every week you will receive an Excel tip, tutorial, template or example delivered to your inbox. What more, as a joining bonus, I am giving away a 25 page eBook containing **95 Excel tips & tricks**. Please sign-up below:

Your email address is safe with us. Our policies

### Leave a Reply

Insert Multiple Columns at once [Quick tip] |
What is Power Pivot – an Introduction [video] |

## 104 Responses to “Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts”

Awesome!! Thanks for sharing. I can’t thank you enough for your posts. They really help me become awesome in MS Excel.

Your stuff is fantastic & more than that your helping & sharing attitute is really appreciated. Not everyone will do that.

may you be blessed by the triple gem of Lord Buddha

This is a great post, thanks sooo much for it.

I guess I probably knew all of these Formulas/formulae already, but to see them all in 1 post just makes it easier.

How about SUMPRODUCT()? It’s a very powerful and flexible function.

You are right. SUMPRODUCT is very versatile and powerful. That said, for a budding analyst, it might be a huge roadblock. If someone has access to Excel 2007 or above, it is better to use SUMIFS / COUNTIFS / AVERAGEIFS for most things. When SUMPRODUCT has to be used, then just learn it

UNLESS… you are using Solver with constraints! Sumproduct is absolutely essential!

Rather than just SUMIFS, I’d say all of the -IFS formulae as a group (AVERAGEIFS, COUNTIFS..). Not to mention array formulas so that you may IF other functions where the IF(S) version doesn’t exist, like MIN(IF(, MAX(IF(, SMALL(IF(

@PPH & Chiquitin: I agree. I did not mention the other IFS / IF formulas as they all have similar syntax and use. Once you know SUMIFS, you know the rest.

Thats one of the greatest things I learnt trough this short period i am in Excel school that I can IF almost any function using array formulas as mentioned in PPH syntax. Thants Chandoo!

After reading this comment, despite late from the conversations period/year I agreed and asked, what about using array formulas to do IFS instead of only one IF(condition) as I didnt see troughout the lesson….? Bu t at this stage i could rapidly answer by putting in my excel sheet a list of random numbers in the range $H$36:$H$43 like this {10,50,21,23,35,20,8,3}, and asked me what is the smallest number between 20 to 30 in the list?.

1st tried to use SMALL(IF(AND( combination that didnt work!!!! like this : ={SMALL(IF(AND($H$36:$H$43>20,$H$36:$H$4320,IF($H$36:$H$43<30,$H$36:$H$43,""),""),1)} ….returning 21 as the result.

Thanks Chandoo for the lectures, I can see the change in my view about the power of a spreadsheet.

Luis Ganje

Something went wrong copying/pasting the formulas:

1st: the array formula that did not work is:

=SMALL(IF(AND($H$36:$H$43>20,$H$36:$H$4320,IF($H$36:$H$43<30,$H$36:$H$43,""),""),1)

Thanks Chandoo, If someone knows how to use FUNCTION(IF(AND to multiple conditions please convey it to me as I believe that should be simple and shorter way that nesting IFS.

Luis Ganje

=SMALL(IF(AND($H$36:$H$43>20,$H$36:$H$43<30),$H$36:$H$43,""),1)

doesnt work!

=SMALL(IF($H$36:$H$43>20,IF($H$36:$H$43<30,$H$36:$H$43,""),""),1)

works perfectly!

I would add the following functions for Analysts:

Basic Statistical FunctionsLinest(), RSQ(), Slope()

Forecast/Trend Functions:Forecast() and Trend()

All are described in:

http://chandoo.org/wp/2011/01/24/trendlines-and-forecasting-in-excel/

http://chandoo.org/wp/2011/01/26/trendlines-and-forecasting-in-excel-part-2/

http://chandoo.org/wp/2011/01/27/trendlines-and-forecasting-in-excel-part-3/

DataTable:http://chandoo.org/wp/2010/05/06/data-tables-monte-carlo-simulations-in-excel-a-comprehensive-guide/

I would also recommend understanding Averages and Weighted Averages

http://chandoo.org/wp/2010/06/15/weighted-average-excel/

Thank you, Hui. I think it would surprise a lot of people new to the business world just how often average vs weighted average has to be explained.

Awesome post. Really, If you master these formulae you can do almost anything with excel.

But I miss one formula:

COUNTIFSRegards from Spain.

I consider myself pretty awesome with Excel, but you always show me there’s a zillion things I still don’t know.

I’m wondering about the % under #6 – Basic Arithmetic Expressions. How does ‘Divide with 100′ make 2/4% = 50? I don’t understand what the % is doing.

As always – excellent post!!

Hi. It seems it takes precedence over the “/”. So it will do “4%” first. = 4 / 100 as % divides by 100. It gives 0.04.

Then 2 is divided by that result to give 50.

Hi,

Shar, use “Evaluate Formula” to understand formula behavior.

I would add also that it’s good to get used to the boolean side of things, they can replace IF(), particularly when making calculated helper columns in data tables to use later in pivot tables

Thanks for the post! More financial modelling tips would be much appreciated!

Disregard my previous post … it’s just a percent (ie /2% = /.02). It’s just worded strangely.

I have offset() as one of my primary formulas & I would include indirect() as well. Most of that is for creating automated reports/dashboards but invaluable for this.

Didn’t know indirect() function. Thanks for the tip!

Thank you. This is perfect!

In healthcare, I can’t live without the unique count =IF(SUMPRODUCT(($c$2:$C2=C2)*($d$2:$D2=D2))>1,0,1)… with huge reports of patient activity, I need sometimes to identify and discard duplicates easily either with conditional formatting to highlight or filter out the zero value.

I would love to share this with my co-workers in a monthly newsletter. Can I get your permission to do so if I give you full attribution and include a link back to your site? (If not I understand)

Thanks for all your great tips/tricks/knowledge sharing!

Mark

Thanks Mark. Please proceed. You can include a short excerpt & A link back to this page.

regarding the segments of the vlookup formula… I believe that the final segment of the formula snytax is asking you to input “True” if returning the nearest match is ok or “False” if you require exact matches only… not whether or not your list is in ascending order as presented below…

VLOOKUP Formula

Pop quiz time ….Which of the below things would bring world to a grinding halt?A. Stop digging earth for more oil

B. Let US jump off the fiscal cliff or hit debt ceiling

C. Suddenly VLOOKUP formula stops working in all computers, world-wide, forever

If you answered A or B, then its high time you removed your head from sand and saw the world.

The answer is C (

Well, if all coffee machines in the world unite & miraculously malfunction that would make a mayhem.But thankfully that option is not there)VLOOKUP formula lets you search for a value in a table and return a corresponding value. For example you can ask

What is the name of the customer with ID=C00023orHow much is the product price for product code =p0089and VLOOKUP would give you the answers.The syntax for VLOOKUP is simple.

=VLOOKUP(what you want to lookup, table, column from which you want the output, is your table sorted? )

Example:

=VLOOKUP(“C00023?, customers, 2, false)

Lookup customer ID C00023 in the first column of customers table and return the value from 2nd column. Assume that customers table is not sorted.Click here to learn more about VLOOKUP Formula.Bonus:

Comprehensive guide to lookup formulas.You are right. Most people would find nearest / exact match switch confusing (as your list needs to be sorted in ascending order for nearest match to work). So I used plain English version of it in the syntax.

In 1998 I went on an Excel Data Analysis & Reporting course. One of the things covered was vlookup – I could immediately see a use for it in creating a price book for my company.

In the 15 years since, this has become my most used formula. At the course we also learnt about if statements, and scenarios and pivot tables & lots of other things but it was the vlookup that grabbed me ….

It has only been in the last few months, since starting to work on excel 2010 that I have managed to master pivot tables. Back in 1998 I couldn’t see how they were of any use, now I love them – especially with the use of slicers (and they are so much easier to construct now)

I will slowly work through mastering some of your other Top 10 Formulas – thanks for sharing them in such a clear way.

Sally

Well, this is really a great post, i need to re-learn some of them, like OFFST and Match. How about Date, Year, Month, Day formula, they are very useful as well.

Chandoo: Your list is absolutely must with if formulas added

Good day Chandoo

Can I please borrow your chrystal ball. (Not sure how else you do it). Everytime I start a new project you publish what I need to get it done. Thank you so much for this great site and your information sharing. With your help I am now one of the “Guru’s” in my division and people come to me for help.

I knew you are going to ask, so I already mailed it you. Give it a few days to arrive.

Jokes aside, I am so glad you are learning and growing in your work. More awesomeness to you.

great List – I crunch lots of data for mailing lists – one sort of “text” field I use constantly with imported data is =value() to turn what should be numbers in numbers. Much easier to use with large numbers of rows than filling down with the tag.

I don’t often find myself trying to convert text numbers into numbers, but I have always just multiplied the cell by 1 (= A1 * 1). The new cell is recognized as a number. I was unaware of the Value() function. Thanks for the new info.

I use a lot of data exported from other systems where the number values come across as text. Rather than adding another column to convert the text (e.g., =–(A1) ), I lke to use the Data/Text to Columns feature to convert text to numbers in place.

In fact I found that I use it it enough that I wrote a little macro that I keep in Personal.xlsb just to perform this task. One limitation is that it o (note that like the text to columns tool, it will only convert one column at a time.

Sub ConvertToText()

‘ convert selection to text

‘ cjhx 1/9/2012

‘

‘ SHORTCUT: ctrl + shift + t

‘

Selection.TextToColumns , DataType:=xlDelimited, _ TextQualifier:=xlDoubleQuote, FieldInfo:=Array(1, 2)

End Sub

Your list is well thought out… I was originally just looking for 10 things to teach to a new co-worker

Thank you!

A great and comprehensive list. I think the $ deserves its own post because when used effectively an analyst is much faster and also less error prone.

Great list, some of my personal favorites are listed. I would consider adding in the bonus area something about using absolute vs relative cell references (as mentioned by Jon). I transformed from someone who was just good at Excel to a SME when I learned how to use the $. For all of the formulas mentioned above, the $ can make pasting across rows/columns much more efficient and effective

I think its pretty unfair to leave out ROW() and COLUMN() which help you to iterations in a formula

Countif is surely very helpful in a lot of cases. Sumif would be second, and the combination of offset and match functions so that they can be used as vlookup on the left side of data is also helpful.

Thanks,

Anand Kumar

My sister claims that learning vlookup helped her get three promotions. At my own job it has helped me become “The Magic Report Guy”.

Small and Large… I beat my head against the wall for ages trying to find a function that did that.

I know these are not formulas but pivot tables and basic macro creation and editing can make you appear to be a genius. I thought one guy was going to cry when I created a macro that automated a report he spent about a week every month doing by hand. After that my boss stopped giving me grief about surfing the net to look at Excel sites.

vlookup is great, but I’ve switched to index & match for pretty much everything. After using vlookup for so long the syntax seemed weird at first, but once I got used to it I didn’t want to go back.

Consider the difference here:

=VLOOKUP($G4,$A2:$D13,2,FALSE)

This looks at the value in G4 and finds a match in the range A2:A13, then when it finds a match it returns the value in the 2nd column on the match row.

=INDEX(B2:B13,MATCH($G4,$A2:$A13,0))

This gets the same result, it’s just formatted a little differently.

One significant difference here is that with vlookup, if you copy the formula and paste it one column to the right, it returns the same result. In order to return the value from the third column, you need to change that 2 to a 3. When you’re dealing with large amounts of data you end up copying/pasting the formula, then doing find/replace to change the “,2,”s to “,3,”s, then in the next column to “,4,”s, etc.

Using the index/match method, you just copy/paste the formula over to the next column and you’re done.

Whichever method you use, you need to be sure the $s are in the right places for absolute referencing.

Another significant difference is that not only does index/match not require the lookup value to be in the far left column, but it doesn’t even require that the lookup values and return values are in the same rows. You can have A2:A5 be the return values and ZZ32:ZZ35 be the lookup values.

Yeah, I never ever use VLOOKUP and actually find it annoying, particularly when I have to review and edit someone else’s work that uses it extensively.

This works well. It is a little more work to set up but I really like that the columns returned increment unlike they do with vlookup. I have never understood the reason that they don’t. They want to increment the search column instead. I hate to think how much time I have spent redoing column return values in vlookup. Thanks!

With column references in vlookups – if I need to do a number of consecutive columns, I use the column() function with a constant to retrieve the column so that the vlookup becomes fully dynamic….

=VLOOKUP($G4,$A2:$D13,column() + 3 ,FALSE)

i am excited though not tested. i think this is what i have been looking for

Sir I like your site very much especially my father like most because he use always in excel.

Can you give me some tips that how can I earn from my website at your level.

@Ravi

Start with the Beige box at teh top of the main Chandopo,.org web page

It has a section called ”

Welcome to Chandoo.org. New here?“In there there is a whole section on Learn Excel Topics and Courses

Consider exploring both

[…] Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts […]

It’s wonderful to have all this functions in a great compilation, it helps me a lot to start learning the functions I am not familiarized with. Personally I felt in love with VLOOKUP and MATCH functions, they simplified my life a lot and increased the productivity very fast. Excel is full of surprises and awesomeness is just around the corner.

[…] Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts by Purna “Chandoo” Duggirala. […]

This is a great post and I feel honoured to contribute to it. A combination I get excited about when I get a chance to use it is SUM and IF in an array. The format goes like this:

{=SUM(IF(E5:I5=E5,IF(D6:D15=D9,E6:I15)))}

It allows you to sum across a range, E6:I15 in this case, based on reference values in both your row and column headers. It’s like a two-dimensional SUMIFS. It works left to right or right to left, up or down, like INDEX MATCH. It will also sum based on the same reference value in two different columns, which I’m not sure SUMIFS will allow you to do.

The list is pretty much what I would recommend for budding analysts – but I have a criticism about terminology.

VLOOKUP, SUMIFS, etc are not formulae but Excel FUNCTIONS.

Formulae in Excel are algebraic statements (expressions) which use a combination of mathematical operators and at least one or more of the following:

constants, range references, functions

to return a result. Many formulae in a model may not even contain a function!

Many will see this as pedantic, but to avoid confusion Function anf Formula should NOT be used interchangeably.

I agree. “Function” and “formula” should not be confused.

User Definable Distinct rows formula.

Hi Chandoo, I meant to respond last week with this formula but forgot. I almost always use this formula in a helper column to identify distinct rows. I then use them in Pivot tools:

Column D: If(sumproduct(($a$2:$a2=a2)*($b$2:$b2=b2)*($c$2:$c2=c2))>1,0,1)

However, I usually create 2 helper columns as follows:

Helper Column 1

Column D: =a2&b2&c2

Helper Column 2

Column E: =If(sumproduct(($d$2:$d2=d2)*($d$2:$d2=d2))>1,0,1)

LeonK

I have used the vlookup function for 15+ years, but I still remember how excited I was when I first discovered it. I have tended to move away from it more now though.

One thing I have always found usefull in functions like vlookup, sumif etc, is when you want to match values across multiple columns, to make a lookup value column, by adding the apporopriate columns together.

eg: to find “John Smith”, when the name is stored in two columns as FirstName, Surname. In the LookupValue column just use =FirstName & ” ” & Surname, and then look up on this value. It’s a simple concept but one that took me years to realise.

Several thoughts:

1. LOOKUP is simpler and more useful, in most cases than =VLOOKUP. The main reason to use =VLOOKUP is if you need to do an exact match through unsorted data. Otherwise, the constraint of having to put in a column offset with VLOOKUP makes it less useful than LOOKUP.

2. Being able to work with real dates is essential in a financial model. As such, it’s important to know how add days or months to a date. So, the date number format is important, as well as the DATE function, and also the EDATE and EOMONTH formulas.

3. Once you have your cashflows and dates, running an XNPV or XIRR is fundamental. They allow you to be much more precise in your return calculations than NPV or IRR, which assume regular cash flows.

4. Data Table functions (by this I mean “Data/Data Table” and not the Excel 2007/2010 feature called “Tables”)are essential for automating sensitivity analysis. Also, it’s much more important to be able to do a one factor data table than a two factor.

Wow! I just discovered your blog. You’re an awesome person for putting this valuable resource for others to see. Thank you and I look forward to increasing my nerdy ways through Excel.

hi…

chandoo,it’s amazing using sumifs, thanks for it.

Are you aware of any Excel macros that compute the Probability of Acceptance for double sampling plans, such as, n1, c1, n2, c2?

Thanks a ton for sharing…

We can use “ASAP uitilities” (readymade Micro) which helps in solving many Complicated excel operations like identifing Duplicates, Fill In, and many more….

Appreciate your great explanations as always. Working with Excel in Search Engine Marketing, sometimes I’ll download a list of Keywords & I’ll need to add a + sign in front of them. For example, one of my keywords may be “Green Shoes”, & I may also have “Black Shoes”, etc. I may have 500 keywords & will often need to add a + in front of all of them. Basically I need something that will add a character to all of the individual characters in a cell. Any formula suggestions?

I tried =”+”&B8&”+” for example, but that puts the + in front of the first word and behind the last one. I need the plus in front of both.

Thanks!!

Hi,

You can try this. Use Text to columns to separate your key words, add + with & formula before all the words and again join them by “concatenante”. It might look a little lenghty but you can write a macro to automate it.

Enjoy!

Hello,

Thank you for providing tips for Excel.

I have a query for changing the text in upper or lower case.

When we change the text in upper or lower case with the formula: =upper(C4), the case of the text changes. However, when we delete the text in the origional cell, the cell where the changes were made also gets deleted automatically.

Please provide assistance in how to save the text with the changed case and delete only the origional text.

Thank you.

You can copy the cells with the upper formula then paste over them using paste special/values, then the origin cells can be deleted. As long as there is still an active formula referencing them, deleting the origin will mess up the result.

Are Pivot Tables formulas too? I would put them on this list.

Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts | Chandoo.org – Learn …

Jan 16, 2013 … They really help me become awesome in MS Excel. ….. macros that compute the

Probability of Acceptance for double sampling plans, such as, …

http://chandoo.org/wp/2013/01/16/top-10-formulas-for-aspiring-analysts/

The above was an entry on a web search, but I couldn’t find anything on “Probability of Acceptance for double sampling plans” as mentioned in the entry. Please advise

Why does the following VBA Code give an error, “A value used in the formula is of the wrong data type” ??

‘Function to Compute Probability of Acceptance for Dodge and Romig Type Double Sampling Plans

Function DRDSPa(N, P, N1, C1, N2, C2)

Dim i As Long

Dim D As Long, PA1 As Long, PA2 As Long

D = N * P

‘ PA1 is Probability of Acceptance on First Sample

PA1 = Application.WorksheetFunction.HYPGEOM.DIST(C1, N1, D, N, True)

PA2 = 0

For i = C1 + 1 To C2

PA2 = PA2 + Application.WorksheetFunction.HYPGEOM.DIST(i, N1, D, N, False) * Application.WorksheetFunction.HYPGEOM.DIST(C2 – i, N2, D – i, N – N1, True)

Next i

DRDSPa = PA1 + PA2

End Function

@Qualitist

I suspect that your first line should be

Function DRDSPa(N as Double, P as Double, N1 as Double, C1 as Double, N2 as Double, C2 as Double) as Double

Is it possible for you to upload the file as I suspect it is the lack of definition of the data types or the data itself that is at error

Hi,

Thanks a ton for sharing…..

Can you light on “Macro”, as they help a lot and saves time. Most of the time we do the same operations daily just the data base changes, and even if you know formulas it takes a lot of time to save the time and get accuraccy Macro is the solution.

Thanks in Advance…

Regards,

Pankaj from INDIA

this is a great list that everyone who uses excel should have. I’ve had issues teaching people the basics of SUMIF. with SUMIFS, SUMIF should just be eliminated.

one thing to note:

trim does NOT take care of internal spaces (above it references “middle” of text), but substitude can do it just fine.

also, thank you for introducing me to trim, it would have saved me several minutes over the last few years, but now i know!

Can u please give us some more no of examples on “Nested formulas”

What a great set of Excel functions. Thank you so much. Are you happy for me print and share these with my Maths and IT students? I am certainly going to keep them at my side when analysing large speadsheets. Cheers

@David… You are welcome to share the article with your students as long as you make no changes and leave a credit link at the bottom.

no. 1 is awesome .

New functions are added or renamed / improved in every Excel version.There are almost 500 functions in Excel 2013.

By using the most appropriate function for your task, you will get the most accurate results possible, plus your Excel models will be easier to maintain and audit.

You can navigate to any function help webpage using the navigation (unlocked VBA) Add-in created with the innovative Ribbon Commander framework. See link:

http://www.spreadsheet1.com/syntax-and-usage-navigation-add-in-for-excel-2013-functions.html

[…] Top 10 formulas for analysts [Visitors: 65,638] Employee vacation tracker [Visitors: 42,659] Interactive chart in Excel – How to make it? [Visitors: 42,416] Angry Formulas game… [Visitors: 36,392] Learn top 10 Excel features [Visitors: 25,723] To-do list with priorities – Excel templates [Visitors: 19,947] Introduction to Power Pivot [Visitors: 21,298] Best new features in Excel 2013 [Visitors: 21,539] How to create interactive calendar in Excel? [Visitors: 17,478] 5 Keyboard shortcuts for writing better formulas [Visitors: 18,577] […]

sir I really enjoying ur tips but I must say that you should post vidios as well regards

Your website make my projects go from good to amazing! I think me should also add date functions to this list along with text. . And of course substitute and find.. they work best for searching text in cells

Hi Chandoo,

This is a very useful compilation… Thank you and God Bless!

I have found the countifs along with Named Ranges very useful.. The operators to be used inside the countifs for comparison, along with refering value using the & operator might be a topic for a future post, if not already done.

Regds, Suresh

Hi Chandoo,

Thanks for all the tips.

I wnat to know if there is any excel tool that can convert the excel image into excel table. I know there are some optical tool called “OCR” that we need to buy from internet, but I want to know if excel 2010 can convert this so that I don’t have to buy this program.

Love this post and love your blog – the 2014 Easter Egg hunt was fun! On item #2 in this list, did you know that there’s a typo in the attached image? It says:

“vlookup(“John”,list,2,false) = finds where Jon is in the list and returns the value in the 2nd column”

The equation is looking up the name John with an H and the explanation references Jon without an H. In vlookups where EVERYTHING matters (i.e. spaces, periods, commas, etc), that could be misleading.

Thanks agian for all the info! Great stuff!!

Hi,

I agree with most of the comments.

But I think one formula missing in the comment section is “IFERROR” formula. Because its the presentation that matters in the end.

Krishna

I would add one of the simplest built-in functions to the list:

Ctrl-H i.e. Find and replace. Bringing data out of places like SAP and other text-formatting products it would take hours and days to clean it up if you didn’t have “Find and replace” in your toolbox.

Thanks for a great list!

a lot of thanks and hat’s of to you for this awsome job

Thank you , this is the best post regarding those formulas.

hI CHndoooo…

Really Awsome Formulas..but i dnt take a rightanswerin SUMIF How when i put a righr formula

I use Range Names very frequently.

In healthcare, I use the Rand() function to provide clinical reviewers with random patient information pulled from SQL database for chart reviews. It’s a great function!

Cool stuff. Very interesting and motivating.

I use the rand() and int() functions to randomly pull out a name from a list of names. Excel is awesome!

SUM IF is so important for my work as i am using in another way and right and left is always using as well. thank you and most helpful.

This site is very very useful site ever i have found in internet.

Description,logic,solving of problems etc. are marvelous.I am fond of this site and use to follow this site very often.

thanks CHandoo.org…..you are great.

I am very impressed with the awesome informaion in one place. One function I use to present the analysis is the rept(). If I have use the formula =rept(, “|”) down the whole column, it will show as a bar chart in the cell. To enhance, rotate the text and copy at the bottom of a table to show a vertical bar chart in each cell.

Please, give me answer for my Question. In a class, the name start with Maung, Saw, Min & Khun are Male and Ma, Nan,Mi are Female. How to separate Male or Female using excel 2007. I work at Education office in Myanmar and I need this formula. Thank you.

[…] Build and summarize your information from your data worksheet(s) using formulas and pivot tables. You are going to summarize information in a way that provides answers and solutions to your questions or problems in step 1. Here is a list of formulas that you may want to consider learning as per Chandoo’s Top 10 Formulas for Aspiring Analysts: […]

It’s not an Excel formula, but I think the most useful line of code for Excel is the VBA snippet

iLastRow = ActiveSheet.Range(“a10000″).End(xlUp).Row

It’s amazing how many times I use this each week! I always seem to find myself needing to loop through a column of data and I’m too lazy to scroll down and manually find the last row.

Hi Chandoo,

Can you help me in providing coding in VB for creating Macros in Excel for the problem on which there are some lines that are discontinued for the complete first line and in the next line it is continuing but I need altogether in one line without using the cut and paste since there are more lines where you cannot do for all.

the below example which needs to be placed the two line into one line without cut and paste formula as there are so many lines identified like that.

dep 20/05/2015 kumar 125.00 10

sep 10%

Hi Chandoo

Very useful post. Thanks. somehow I was not very comfrotable with VLookup. One more fromula an analyst may often require is LOGEST which gives exponential(compound) growth rate instantly.

[…] one of the most prominent Excel bloggers, included the IF function in his list of top 10 formulas for aspiring analysts and stated that “if you are able to write IF formulas for any situation, then you are bound to be […]

Hi mate,

Just wanted to say your posts are truly awesome. Thanks all the way from Australia =)

Regards,

Nev

AWESOME

I use RAND, RANK and VLOOKUP to sort a list of items – e.g. 52 playing cards – in random order with no duplicates. First a col A of 1-52 as index. Then a column B of 52 random numbers (RAND() These are RANKed in the next col C, resulting in a list of numbers in random order. The objects I want to rank e.g. card names, AceOfHearts etc. are in the next col D. The last col E VLOOKUPs the index numbers (1-52) in the range of randomised ranks and objects ($C$1:$D$52) and returns the objects in the second col of the range i.e. VLOOKUP($A1,$C1$:$D$52,2,FALSE). NB watch the $s!