When data is imported into Excel sometimes the values come in as text rather than values. Most functions can’t perform any calculations with text numbers, but one can. See how easy it is to add up text values.
What is the best layout when working with months/quarters/half years and full years? There are a few common structures. I prefer the one that lets you create single formulas that can be quickly copied across and down with as few copies as possible.
When you create formulas that refer to other sheets Excel typically includes the name of the current sheet when you return to the current sheet and refer to a cell.
My consulting work recently highlighted a stark contrast in different Excel models and the effort it takes to create or change them. I make some recommendations to make things easier for yourself at the end of this post.
We’ve all heard the term “A month of Sundays” to describe a long time. Well what if you wanted to count how many Sundays between two dates?
If you are using date-based headings in your reporting models please consider using dates in the headings rather than text. I’ll explain why.
The NETWORKDAYS.INTL function was added in Excel 2010. It allows to calculate how may work days between two dates using non-standard weekends. Some countries don’t have Saturday/Sunday weekends.
Making Subtotals Bold
When you use the SUBTOTAL feature in the Data ribbon tab it automatically inserts subtotals in your list – see blog post on it here.
One problem with this is that is only makes the cell with the word Total bold – it doesn’t make the whole row bold.
If you want the whole row to be bold it isn’t hard to fix.
- Select the whole range involved.
- Use the grouping button 2 top left corner. See image below.
- Then hold the Alt key down and press the ; (semicolon key) – this selects just the visible cells.
- Then press Ctrl + b to bold it.
- Click another cell to reset the range and you are done.
I had a question during one of my Date and Times Webinars in February. It was about months and fortnights. I couldn’t answer it during the webinar, but I did follow up with an email with the solution. The answer follows.
Most people are unaware that the SUMIFS function has a serious limitation when it comes to codes with leading zeroes. This post shows you how to perform calculations involving codes with leading zeroes. This issue also affects SUMIF, COUNTIF and COUNTIFS.
I had a question on another post on how to convert Nov 21, 2014 into a date Excel recognises. The solution involves six functions working together.
Let’s say you have a table of codes and every month there are a few you want to check out. You could use a VLOOKUP to extract all the details for each code, but let’s say you want to view the codes in the table.
I wanted to offer a solution to a common problem I see in Excel. It relates to creating totals in data that isn’t structured that well.
It is common to work with lists in Excel. Lists of departments, names and other categories you frequently use. This blog post covers a few techniques that work really well together to create robust reporting systems.
Learning Excel’s Function Arguments
When you start to use a function it can take some time to learn the arguments required and understand what Excel expects for each argument. Eg should it be a cell or a range or either?
When you have the start of a function in the formula bar, you can either press Ctrl + a or click the fx symbol on the left of the formula bar – see image below.
In the image above, the argument in square brackets [range_lookup] is optional. Square brackets around an argument mean it is optional.
This will display a dialog with a listing of the arguments required by a function. The bold names are required, the non-bold names are optional.
This listing provides a lot more detail on what Excel is expecting for each function argument. This helps you learn more about how to create and use the function.
I saw a technique demonstrated recently with VLOOKUP that I hadn’t seen used before and thought at the time, that’s handy. Upon reflection however, I thought that’s a bit dangerous.
The LEFT and RIGHT functions are great for extracting leading or trailing characters from a text string. Did you know their default setting is handy too?
Summing a range with Errors
If you have a column of values with errors, but you want to see what the values add up to, use the AGGREGATE function (added in Excel 2010).
If column A has the values and errors use
The 9 means SUM. The 6 means ignore errors.
I was looking at a calendar and noticed it used alternately shaded cells, like a checkerboard, for all the dates and thought Excel could do that.