Being a marketer, I’ve always used Excel to organize my data and drive insights. But I’ll also admit, as much as I use Excel, there are often times when I find myself completely stumped or overwhelmed with the number of formulas and functions available. It can be frustrating to not know the right formula to use or how to apply it to a particular data set. But fear not, because today we’re going to dive into IMREAL, one of my favorite Excel formula acronyms, and explore exactly what each letter of the acronym means and how to apply it.
IMREAL stands for:
Let’s break down each letter and how it can be used.
The “If” function is one of the most fundamental Excel formulas. It allows you to evaluate a condition and return one value if the condition is true, and another value if it is false. For example, let’s say I want to evaluate whether a product’s sales have increased compared to the previous month. My formula would look something like this:
=IF(B2>C2,"Sales Increased","Sales Decreased")
This formula evaluates whether the value in cell B2 is greater than the value in cell C2, and if it is, it outputs “Sales Increased”. If not, it outputs “Sales Decreased”.
The “Match” function is used to find the position of an item in a range of cells or an array. For example, let’s say I have a list of customers and their corresponding sales figures in a table. I want to find the position of the customer with the highest sales. My formula would look like this:
This formula evaluates the maximum value in the range B2:B10 and returns its position in the same range.
The “Rank” function is used to find the rank of a number in a list of numbers. For example, let’s say I have a list of sales figures for a product and I want to find the product’s ranking compared to other products in the range. My formula would look like this:
This formula evaluates the rank of the value in A2 compared to the values in the range A2:A10.
Errors are inevitable when it comes to working with data, but Excel has built-in functions that can help identify and handle them. One way to handle errors is to use the “IFERROR” formula. For example, let’s say I have a formula that is dividing the sales figures in column B by the quantity sold in column C. There could be instances where there is a #DIV/0! error when a product has not been sold. To handle this error, I would use the following formula:
=IFERROR(B2/C2,"No Sales Made Yet")
This formula tries to divide the value in cell B2 by the value in cell C2, but if it encounters a #DIV/0! error, it outputs the message “No Sales Made Yet”.
The “Average” function is used to calculate the average of a range of cells or a specified array of values. For example, let’s say I have a list of product prices in a table and I want to calculate the average price. My formula would look like this:
This formula calculates the average of the values in the range B2:B10.
The “Lookup” function is used to find a value in a table based on values in other rows and columns. For example, let’s say I have a list of product names, their corresponding prices, and their categories in a table. I want to look up the price of a product based on its name and category. My formula would look like this:
This formula looks for the value “Product A” in the first column of the range A2:C10 and returns the value in the second column (the price).
Excel can often be intimidating, with its vast array of formulas and functions, but the IMREAL acronym can provide a framework for tackling some of the most common data analysis tasks. By using If, Match, Rank, Error Handling, Average, and Lookup, you can simplify your data analysis and arrive at deeper insights. So next time you find yourself staring at a spreadsheet, remember IMREAL!