What is your favorite feature of Excel? [poll]
Its Friday, time for another poll.
This weeks topic is inspired from a discussion Jordan started in our forums (#).
What is your favorite feature of Excel?
I will go first.
My favorite features are,
 Conditional formatting: Quickly highlight something that is not alright (or meets conditions), see trends with data bars or heat maps.
 Pivot tables: Turn data in to understandable information with just a few clicks. When combined with slicers & conditional formats, becomes very powerful.
 Formulas: Ofcourse, with out formulas, Excel would be a glorified notepad!
What about you? What are your favorite features in Excel? Go ahead and tell us by posting a comment.
PS: If you are reading this in our newsletter or RSS Reader, click here to share your favorite features.
Hello Awesome...
My name is Chandoo. Thanks for dropping by. My mission is to make you awesome in Excel & your work. I live in Wellington, New Zealand. When I am not F9ing my formulas, I cycle, cook or play lego with my kids. Know more about me.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Visit Excel for Beginner or Advanced Excel pages to learn more or join my online video class to master Excel.
Thank you and see you around.

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131 Responses to “What is your favorite feature of Excel? [poll]”
Formulas  What would we do without it?
AND the almost never ending treasure hunt digging out hidden (unknown to me) features 🙂
Excel is Fun!
Subhash
Named ranges  since they are maintained by Excel you can add rows/columns/cells and the reference takes care of itself
Tables  Again, like named ranges, except without having to use clumsy "dynamic" named ranges (which can break if you add data to the wrong row/column that you're using to "count" rows/columns in your offset function)
VBA  automate things, create dynamic sheets, etc. VBA is what separates Excel from the rest of the wannabe spreadsheet programs.
formulaes..the ability to customize dashboards and the evr dependable pivot tables
I have to go with VBA  has saved so much staff time.
Clip Art! jk
I like Paste Special and Format Cell.
Pivots, Formuals and VBA are great, but special formatting and pasting features give this elegance to working with Excel
For teaching formulas, there is nothing that compares to Trace Precedents and Dependents (and combined with F4 for changing cell references it's a really good selfstudy tool).
And for my own use, the automatic translation of formulas (most often english to swedish).
Pivot tables, power pivot, vba.
I spent a lot of time learning a lot of formulas back in the day. But as I've grown up a bit, it seems like everything I need to do I can do with just a couple of formulas and a pivot table.
1. VBA
2. Charts
3. Pivot tables
4. Tables
NOTE: The combination of Charts and VBA is #1 on the most frustrating parts of Excel.
Formulas
Conditional Formatting
Charts
Pivot tables
VBA  because it allows me to automate dashboards like this:
...and vlookup and hlookup
...and text to columns
...and simple functions like countifs and sumifs.
... and of course sparklines and conditional formatting for quickie eyeballing analyses.
Ann! Here you are again!
How often do you use HLOOKUP?
I've used it just once and it was a lifesaver. I was dealing with 600 columns that were all our of order and HLOOKUP was key to getting them lined up.
Hahaha hello Oz! This blog is a great resource for all Excel users so I'm not surprised to see you here. Sometimes I used vlookup and other times hlookup, it just depends how the dataset I receive has been formatted. But I probably use vlookup 95% of the time and only need hlookup 5% of the time.
I love Snap To Grid for lining up charts and shapes.
Angry Birds
VBA
Tables w/Structured Refs
Charts
Sparklines
Formulas
BI Frontend (CUBES)
Addins (PowerPivot Data Explorer)
.NET & Excel
I don't know .NET, but I would love to learn it and think up an application to use it with Excel. What are you doing with .NET and Excel? Are there books you recommend?
VBA combined with "record macro"
Sumifs & Countifs
Named ranges
Conditional formatting
I like Merge & Center. I'll defend it.
Kind of a rebel, kind of a loner, eh? Ok, give it your best shot.
Shoot! I didn't think anyone would take me up on it.
Honestly, I don't really have have a defense except to say that I don't mind its limitations too much. I know there are many people who say I should use "center across selection," but I don't really see the advantage. Where Merge (not so much the center part) does well is when I need to create a larger input box on a spreadsheet without pushing other elements out of the way.
Pivot from ODBC connections...make scorecards so easier.
Formula Pivot and VBA.
Pivot Tables! And the ability to sort and filter. Okay...I know that's more than one favorite but it was kind of a tie 🙂
1. VBA
2. Formula
3. Pivot tables
Formulas and data import queries
Pivot Table
Charts
Formulas
Pivot tables and formulas have to be together. I export data, but I always use formulas to create additional data. I use Pivot tables to transform the data into INFORMATION and CHARTS. I look like a hero every time!!
Formulas  VLOOKUP has saved me so much time i can't even tell you, Love excel!!
formulas,Developer,Macros
My favorite feature of Excel MUST be the versitile and flexible toolbars, which you can easily manipulate both from the user interface and via VBA  and even quickly built your own suitable for your own need with just a few mouseclicks  and EVEN distribute and share with others on the fly!
And, you're not forced to have them located any specific place on the screen, say, like on the top, but you can just drag and place them anywhere you want  and they are so small that they don't clutter up your screen!
And, all the features of the toolbars are easily accessiable and programable within VBA for userfriendly interface or easy access to any custom made Excel you might have made!
Man, the toolbars rocks!
AWESOME!
VBA:
 OpenText method
 Advanced Filters
 EnvelopeVisible = true
 and of course CurrentRegion and xlUp)
Tables
VLOOKUP
Pivot tables
Gotta love Tables!
Data Tables, you know, the {=TABLE(,A1)} variety to distinguish them from the newer Tables.
These things are absolutely crucial to the analysis that I do day in and day out.
It's the package ... the whole package.
Formulae and conditioanl formatting yeah ... but without sorting and
filtering ... not nearly as powerful.
But I so wish I would take the time to learn how to pivot on a dime.
+Peace!
The User Defined Function (UDF) is my most favourite feature of Excel
PowerPivot, conditional formatting, Data Connections, tables, filtering. I use regular formulas as little as possible. Any report should be done in pivot tables.
Pivottable
vlookup
&
Definitely Pivot Tables. The group function is especially useful when grouping information by dates. Summarising by % is pretty useful too. In fact when I think
Then closely followed by formulas, in particular  vlookup.
Validation. If the data can't be protected and the inputs controlled, we're creating ticking timebombs
VLOOKUP  in spite of the antiVLOOKUP proselytizers. For comparing lists, VLOOKUP works. Period.
VBA. Makes validation so much sweeter. Program a button to unprotected a sheet, do it's work and then protect everything again ... that's heavenly.
Slicers. Awwww YEAH, baby! The sexiest in sifting through data for ad hoc needs.
the data filtering aspect, coupled with using charts and subtotal functions for "adhoc" analysis and visualization of "data scenarios"
I love the new PowerPivot addin. Being able to handle such large amounts of data and VBA. Being able to connect COM addins and VBA to futher the capabilities of Excel makes it almost limits of what can be done.
1. Formulas (eg. SUMPRODUCT, INDEX+MATCH and array formulas)
2. Tables
3. Connections to Database Servers
4. VBA
5. Conditional formatting
Using Excell 2003:
Conditional Sum Addon;
Button / Toolbar Editor
Pivot tables and VBA to automate those boring repetitive tasks!
Pivot tables
Formulae
Dashboards
Condional formatting, hide columns, vba etc
1) Pivot Tables
2) Macro's (my VBA is so basic is't an insult to label it as such)
3) tie between Paste Special and VLookup.
I LOVE Excel!
I like VBA
Pivot Charts and Tables
Conditional Formatting
and my very favorite is IMDIV
1) Macros
2) IF, And, OR (use of this with formula its makes magic)
I love Exploring Excel
1. Formulae
2. VBA
3. Data Import Features
cheers,
Ravi.
I use VBA a lot and really like that you can record macros in Excel and then just modify the code. This saves you the time of writing the code and looking up uncommon properties and methods.
VBA
Pivots
VLookup
all the other formulas
Bottom of my list: CHARTS. I get SO frustrated with them!
Vlookup
Pivot Tables
Recording Macros
It is really hard to pick favorites as it always depends on what one is trying to develop.
However, if I must
VBA..even though I am not exceptionally good at it.
Formulas, especially the array formulas
Lookup capabilities
Ability to change what shows on a spreadsheet by making selections from a given set of choices(drop down box). Always seems to impress other folks.
Data Validation dropdowns with formulas. You can create great forms with this. Combine it with Vlookup and VBA and the form can do everything but sit the baby (haven't tried that yet)
Lookups
VBA
Named Ranges , Paste linked Pictures, Conditional formatting, VBA
1) Formulas
2) Pivot Tables
3) Macros
Of course whenever you say most lovable excel option, i would say the "F1" (Help)...
and Templates which are assisting me and groomed me a lot rather than a tutor does....
Besides, If formula, Text formula, Lookup formulae, and more.
Last but not least VBA  Macro.....
Pivot tables are awsome for analysis
Pivot Charts
Chandoo's newletter  there is always something cool to learn.
[...] Chandoo is polling his readers to find their favorite Excel feature. There’s almost 50 comments as of this writing and a lot of good features mentioned. A couple of people, including Chandoo, named formulas as a top feature. You can’t say formulas are the best feature of Excel. That’s like saying wetness is the best feature of the Ocean. Or cheesiness is the best feature of the Moon. Formulas are Excel. They are Excel’s essence. Aren’t they? [...]
My favourite features:
1) VBA
2) Ranged Names
3) Sumproducts, Index and match formulas
4) Pivot Tables
5) Data Tables
Autofilter
For slicing and dicing data
Vlookup
Match
Offset
Forms Controls
Create interactive tools without using VBA
Power Pivot & Slicers.
My favorites are,
Pivot tables
Formulas
Macros
Conditional formatting
My favorites are:
1. VBA
2. Formulas
3. Conditional Formating
power pivot in excel2013 is the awesum function .....
Thank you so very much for viewing my post.
Conditional formatting
Pivot tables
Formulas
thanks
asim
1. Sumproduct
2. Conditional Formating
3. Iferror
for me it has to be ANALYSIS TOOLPAK !
Pivot Tables, Formulas, Macros
$ sign  Absolute reference, deserves to be mentioned
Hi
Formulas & Pivot tables
So much to choose from (too much!!!)
VBA  really satisfying when it works
Data validation  easy to create lists and impress others
Formulas
Pivot Tables
Charts
many more as guided by chandoo.org
vlookup
It has to be Pivot Tables. I love seeing users faces once you teach them Pivots and how easily they can see their data in more than one dimension.
Also to go along with Pivots slicers just awesome.....
Regards
This is my list.
1. Pivot tables (managing & analysing mass amount of data)
2. Functions & Formulas (no functions no excel)
3. VBA (the ultimate time saver)
Conditional Formating
What if Analysis & VBA
Great comments all! I would be lost without VLOOKUP. Also, our ERP system spits out erroneous spaces before and after so simple formulas like TRIM and CLEAN prove to be life savers.
Many fields are limited to 30 characters, so LEN is a simple time saver.
1. Tables connected to SQL Server Views
2. Tables connected to Access queries
3. All other Tables
4. Index/Match formulas
5. Pivot tables
6. Conditional Formatting
7. Data Validation
...
VBA  somewhere in here for functionality, but #1 for fun.
...
23. Word Wrap
24. Quick Access toolbar (never thought I'd say that)
...
27. Code Indenter
28. MZTools
...
43. MenuRighter
...
58. Select Visible Cells
59. Camera Tool
...
97. Custom Number formats combining labels and variables
...
78,326. Merge and Center
The 2 tools I use most (after formulas, of course):
vlookup
pivot tables
I like to use the functions and features given below:
?Conditional Formatting, ?PivotTable and PowerPivot, ?Data Connection, ?Data Validation, ?Lookup and References, ?SUMIFS(), ?3D References, ?Paste Special, ?IFERROR(), ?Data Validation, ?WhatifAnalysis, ?Using Objects and Controls with VBA and Macros

Thanks & Regards,
Md. Nazmul Muneer
Dhaka, Bangladesh
Oh, great!!!!!!!!!!!!
Data Tables
http://chandoo.org/wp/2010/05/06/datatablesmontecarlosimulationsinexcelacomprehensiveguide/
I like it very much Conditional formatting, Pivot tables & Formulas
thanks
asim
Advanced Chart
VBA
IF Function
Pivot Tables
I must say I love VBA and in VBA my best feature is "A LOOP". Also use a lot of SUMPRODUCT and VLOOKUP. Drop boxes with set criteria is also very helpfull.
My favorite features in Excel are Macro VBA, excel builtin functions. It is really interesting to create formulas with the builtin functions.
I like the ability to attach a string of data to any calulation or cell.
e.g. you can attach an "ea" to a cell and insert a quanity in the cell and still include it in a formula 5 ea appears in the displayed cell.
1. Formulas
2. Chart  this is a wonderful tool which helps engineers like me saving a lot of time working with scattered data.
my favorite feature are Formula, especially SUMIF..
other are Camera.. great to make report or dashboard..
pivot are great too, but i prefer SUMIF..
Conditional Formatting
PivotTable and PowerPivot
IFERROR()
Data Validation
Data Connection
SUMIFS()
3Dimensional References
Objects and Controls with Macros
Greatest Excel functions:
 Tables + connectivity to other data sources
 Pivot tables
 Pivot charts
Of course, my favorite Excel features are Pivottables, Formulas and Charts. Those features improve my efficiency greatly!!
1) Pivot tables, which pay my wages
2) All those little shortcuts that I discover 6 months after they would have been most useful, e.g. CtrlShftF3 to automatically create names
3) The magical way you can stack formulas up and Excel just deals with it
i will go with Pivot....love to play long database
1) Logical functions like IF.
2) VLOOKUP & HLOOKUP used alone or with other function such as IF & VLOOKUP.
3) DATA VALIDATION  it is very good to control data entry.
4) SORT & FILTER.
5) SUBTOTALS
Pivot Tables ...
Oh! I forgot about data tables. I always arrange everything into tables, even if it isn't really necessary... I just love the default banded rows look 🙂
I would put data tables in at #1, pushing the other things down one rank
I love to work with excel sover. However I do not understand it I need simple tutorials
1. Pivot tables
2. Charts
3. Formulae
4. Vlookup
The best thing for me in Excel, is the button to make it start.
Then the button to start up VBA to use Excel with other programmes like Powerpoint and Lotus Notes to create great graphics and email them all at the puch of a button in Excel.
Using Excel to drive VisioPro is also another winner for me, to introduce liveupdate smart graphics and easy to edit gauge dial mapping.
And Chandoo.org... 🙂
1. Tables
2. SUMIFS()
3. Everything else (it's too hard to choose)
Filters
Charts
Formulas
Merge
1 Sumproducts ( i validate with pivot table, subtotal/filters or sumifs())
2 Vlookup;
3 Macros ( copy formula for many range than copy the data...so it's lighter);
4 names
For a nonprogrammer: VBA
You can automate, design mini app to look pro, control other applications. This is extraordinary.
Because VBA I am not converted to OpenOffice, nor to the MAC.
FRANCE (UE)
Pivot Tables
Slicers
Named Ranges
Great charting in Excel 2013.
The list goes on...
I am always impressed with Target Value
Array formulas!
Pivot tables!
Not exactly Excel, but Customized Ribbons that started with Office 2010. If you aren't using this in all your Office apps, you're wasting time. Just create one ribbon with all your main commands and set it first so it is the default. Then you never (rarely) have to look for stuff again.
Iferror & Vlookup
They've turned me to a magician!
My favorite feature are Pivot Tables and the SUMIF function, especially when using it for yeartodate estimates. The more I go into the advanced features, the more I like, considering my company is still using Excel 2003. so it does help to bring a good amount of creativity into the open.
1 Sort & Filter
2 Conditional formatting
3 and dealing with the addin named ASAP  a forgotten great utility, that complements several Excel features.
Really odd, no one mentioned it!
Hi
I Try To insert a search bar in excel sheet.........so please help me.
VLOOKUP, PIVIOT TABLE & COLOR SORTING
My favorite feature is the lowly ampersand.
I have created complex HTML tables, automatically generated VB code and numerous other timesaving tasks, simply by being able to concatenate columns.
Of course, all of the neat things that CAN be concatenated make the ampersand worthwhile.
Cheers,
Mitch
Formulae
Pivot
Charts
Autofilter
love formulas
addins
power pivot
VBAs
would like to draw a photo in excel cell .
is it possible??
I love data forms! If there was only one feature that has made my life worth living this is it.
followed closely by ctrl +enter for multiple selections
and freeze panes
🙂
Text to columns...I love the ease of use...I get lots of reports in text files and with goofy delimiters Excel makes it easy to get the date in readable formats...
Then Macro's I love my macros to open and format all those silly text files and set up their basic formulas and calculations.
I like paste special function. it makes life so much more easier.
Also the f4 repeat command is very useful.
[...] week, we had a lovely poll on what are your favorite features of Excel? More than 120 people responded to it with various answers. So I did what any data analyst worth his [...]
If & And + VBA + Named Range
I like & use in Working place,
formulas, Pivot Table, chart & Protection methods,
I like Chandoo in Excel.
Because, Chandoo has everything in excel. jk.
1. VBA
2. Charts
3. Pivot tables
4. Tables
5. Formuls
6. Lookups All
NOTE: The combination of Charts and VBA is #1 on the most frustrating parts of Excel. DASHBOARDS & You Guruji.
Indirect + Named Range
It lets me load data sets and KPI's based on a user input.