All articles with 'Microsoft Excel Formulas' Tag

VLOOKUP that fat table with ease [3 quick tips]

Published on Sep 18, 2017 in Learn Excel
VLOOKUP that fat table with ease [3 quick tips]

Time for some good, old fashioned VLOOKUP love. Let’s say you are writing VLOOKUP()s to get data from an unusually fat table, ie one with heaps of columns. You want to get to lookup ID in first column and get thingamajig in what is that column number. Well, better get counting from 1 and after 19 seconds and lots of squinting you arrive at column number 53 – which has thingamajig. 

If this sounds like your VLOOKUP routine, check out these three amazingly simple tips to save some time and effort with your lookups.

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Rounding time to nearest minute or quarter hour etc. [formulas]

Published on Jun 26, 2017 in Excel Howtos
Rounding time to nearest minute or quarter hour etc. [formulas]

The other day, I was building a spreadsheet to calculate FTE (full time equivalent) for staff based on hours worked on various days in a fortnight. While building the spreadsheet, I came across an interesting problem. Rounding Time to nearest minute.  We can’t use ROUND() or MROUND() to round time as these formulas aren’t designed to work with time values. Although time values are technically decimal, rounding time to nearest minute (or quarter hour etc.) can be tricky when usual round formulas. Let me share a few formulas to round time to nearest point.

Let’s say you have a time value (either user input or calculated) in cell A1.

Use below formulas to round time in A1.

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SUMPRODUCT Vs. Power Query on Mt. KauKau

Published on Jun 15, 2017 in Learn Excel, Power Query
SUMPRODUCT Vs. Power Query on Mt. KauKau

When faced with tough problems I react in one of three ways

  1. Come up with ingenious solutions
  2. See if a simpler cheat solution is possible
  3. Sit back and ignore

For most problems, I choose 3rd reaction. Occasionally, I rely on 2nd option and very rarely the first one.

When faced with a tricky time sheet summary problem (as outlined above), after initial lethargy I wanted to solve it.

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Avoid Hiring Boo-boos with Excel – COUNTIFS for the win [video]

Published on Apr 26, 2017 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Avoid Hiring Boo-boos with Excel – COUNTIFS for the win [video]

Imagine you are head of human resources at Casual Contracting Co. Every month you hire a lot of temporary staff who spend 1-4 months with CCC before leaving. Sometimes you hire the same people again. Of late, you have noticed a strange process gap. You are paying same person two (or more) salaries.

This is because you are hiring a person for new temp role even before their current one ended. See above picture.

So how to avoid making such hiring boo-boos.

Simple, using Excel of course.

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Relative References in Excel Tables

Published on Apr 21, 2017 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Relative References in Excel Tables

Excel Tables have been around for a decade now (they are introduced in Excel 2007), and yet, very few people use them. They are versatile, easy and elegant. At Chandoo.org, we celebrate Tables all the time. If you have never used them, start with below tuts.

While tables are super helpful, they do come with some limitations. Today let’s examine one such unique problem and learn about an elegant solution.

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Reshaping your data easily – Case study [Pivot tables FTW]

Published on Mar 16, 2017 in Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts
Reshaping your data easily – Case study [Pivot tables FTW]

Late. Jayaram, my uncle is also a teacher. When I was a kid, I used to spend a lot of time with him, learning all sorts of things. He taught me chess, maths and so many life lessons. I remember one such lesson very vividly.  One day, he asked me to do something. I did it in a very long way. After seeing me struggle for several minutes, he chipped in and showed me how to do it easily. He then said, “when someone asks you where your nose is, you don’t twist arm around your head. You just point to your nose directly.”

The idea is that when you have a direct, simple way to do something, you should use it.

Nose and pivot tables… how are they connected?

We are coming to the point. Read on for full case study and solution.

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Lookup most frequent item [Homework]

Published on Feb 17, 2017 in Excel Challenges
Lookup most frequent item [Homework]

Here is an interesting problem to keep your brain cells fight boredom on this Friday & weekend.

Let’s say you have some data like above.

And you want to know, for a given customer name (in cell G4),

  • What is the most frequent quantity?
  • What is the most often purchased item?

How would you write formulas to get these answers?

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Designing awesome financial metrics dashboard [tutorial]

Designing awesome financial metrics dashboard [tutorial]

In this amazing guest post, the winner of our 2016 dashboard contest – Chandeep – Explains how he constructed the jaw dropping beauty (shown above) using Excel, creativity, love and sweat. Grab a full cup of coffee (or whatever liquid fancies you) and read on. Take lots of notes and play with the ideas in Excel while reading to maximize your learning.

Thanks Chandeep.

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Untrimmable Spaces – Excel Formula

Published on Jan 12, 2017 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel
Untrimmable Spaces – Excel Formula

Let’s talk about the untrimmable spaces.

We all know that TRIM() removes extra spaces from the beginning, ending and middle of a text.

So for example, if A1 has ” something and    one   more    ”

TRIM(A1)

will give “something and one more”

We can use CLEAN() function to remove non-printable characters (like the ASCII codes 0 to 31).  Of course, SPACE is technically a printable character, so CLEAN() won’t remove spaces.

The untrimmable spaces…?

The other day Sreekanth emailed me a sample of data and asked, “how do I remove the spaces in this list and convert them to numbers?”

Naturally I tried to TRIM().

But the data won’t budge. See above.

Hmm, let’s investigate why.

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Finding the closest school [formula vs. pivot table approach]

Published on Nov 18, 2016 in Excel Howtos, Learn Excel, Pivot Tables & Charts
Finding the closest school [formula vs. pivot table approach]

First a quick personal update: There has been a magnitude 7.8 earth quake in NZ on 14th November 2016 early morning. It is centered in Kaikoura, which is about 250 km away from Wellington. We did feel several shakes and after shocks. It has been an interesting and often scary experience. But my family is safe. I feel very sad for the all the damage and the loss for families in NZ. If you suffered from this quake, My prayers and thoughts are with you.

Yesterday, a friend asked me an interesting question. He has school distance data, like above. He wants to know which is the closest school for each school.

There are a few ways to answer this question. Let’s examine two approaches – formulas & pivot tables and see the merits of both.

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CP056: So which formulas you should care to learn?

Published on Oct 27, 2016 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions
CP056: So which formulas you should care to learn?

In the 56th episode of Chandoo.org podcast, let me answer the chicken and egg question of Excel users. How many formulas should you care to learn?

What is in this session?
In this podcast,

  • Two personal updates
  • 3 legs of formula writing
    • Function knowledge
    • Operators
    • Referencing
  • 6 categories of must-know functions
    • Basic math
    • Conditions
    • Lookups
    • Text
    • Date & time
    • Work specific
  • Closing remarks & resources for you
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How many formulas should you learn? [Weekend Poll]

Published on Oct 20, 2016 in Learn Excel

Over at twitter, @for_the_moves asks,

That got me thinking. How many functions should you care to learn?

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Finding if a cell has 7 in it… [Pattern matching in Excel]

Published on Oct 18, 2016 in Learn Excel
Finding if a cell has 7 in it… [Pattern matching in Excel]

Imagine you work at MI5 as a HR officer. You want to find all agents who have license to kill (licence 7). Your data looks like above.

How would you go about it? 

If you filter the list or use FIND() or SEARCH() formulas, you will end up with agents who also have licenses 77, 17 or not7. So how would you solve this problem?

Of course, you do what any smart person does. You summon Excel and ask it nicely by using some wicked pattern matching logic.

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CP055: “Yes, I am back” edition (and a bonus Excel tip)

Published on Oct 13, 2016 in Chandoo.org Podcast Sessions
CP055: “Yes, I am back” edition (and a bonus Excel tip)

Ladies & gentlemen, its time we revived the much loved Chandoo.org podcast. In the 55th episode, I do a lousy imitation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s famous “I will be back” and tell you why there was such a long gap between episodes, my plans for reviving our podcast and more.

What is in this session?

In this podcast,

  • Why there was such a long gap between last and this episode
  • What next?
  • How to extract every 6th item from a list?
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Check if a range has all numbers from 1 to n [Homework]

Published on Sep 30, 2016 in Excel Challenges, Learn Excel
Check if a range has all numbers from 1 to n [Homework]

Finally, spring weather showed up in Wellington this week. We cashed it as much as possible by going on treks, cycling trips, more treks and of course doing laundry.

Anyways, I don’t have time to blog. I must go out and help kids with some cycling. But I want to keep you busy this weekend. So here is a fun homework problem.

Does my range have all numbers from 1 to n?

Let’s say you have a range called range (duh!).  And you want to check if range has all the numbers 1 to n (say n=5) in it, each number appearing only once (no more, no less). You can assume the named ranges range and in your formulas.

See above examples to understand the problem.

So go ahead and post your formulas in the comments section. I will sneak in whenever I can to look at all your creative answers.

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