May 29, 2023

Excel & Google Sheets: Formula Guides

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I love Excel. I know, I know — you’re thinking, "Who likes using spreadsheets?" But there's just something about the way you can organize information and make calculations that gives me a rush. One of the things I love most about Excel, however, is the formulas. There’s nothing like a good formula to make your life easier and your work faster. In this article, I’m going to explain some of my favorite Excel formulas and how they can be used.

The VLOOKUP formula is one of the most powerful tools in Excel. It allows you to search for specific information in a table and retrieve it. This can be really useful if you have a large amount of data that you need to sort through. For example, let's say you have a list of employees and you want to find out how much each of them is earning. Instead of scrolling through the entire list, you can use VLOOKUP to find the information you need.

To use VLOOKUP, you need to have a table that contains the data you want to search through. The first column of the table should contain the unique identifier for each row. In our example, the unique identifier would be the employee’s name. The column that contains the information you want to retrieve should be to the right of the column with the unique identifier.

Here’s how the formula works:

=VLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])

The lookup_value is the value you want to search for (in our example, the employee’s name). The table_array is the range of cells that contains the table you want to search in. The col_index_num is the column number of the data you want to retrieve. Finally, the range_lookup is an optional argument that specifies whether you want an exact match or an approximate match. In most cases, you’ll want to use an exact match.

The SUMIF formula is another powerful tool in Excel. It allows you to add up a range of cells based on a specific condition. For example, let's say you have a list of sales data and you want to find out how much you sold in a particular month. Instead of manually adding up all the sales for that month, you can use SUMIF to do it for you.

Here’s how the formula works:

=SUMIF(range, criteria, [sum_range])

The range is the range of cells you want to evaluate. The criteria is the condition you want to use (in our example, the month you want to find the sales for). Finally, the sum_range is an optional argument that specifies the range of cells to add up. If you leave this argument blank, Excel will use the range you specified in the first argument.

The IF formula is a classic in Excel. It allows you to test a condition and return one value if the condition is true, and another value if the condition is false. This can be really useful if you need to automate certain tasks. For example, let's say you have a list of customer transactions and you want to give each customer a discount if they spent more than $100. Instead of going through the list manually, you can use IF to do it for you.

Here’s how the formula works:

=IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])

The logical_test is the condition you want to test. If this condition is true, Excel will return the value you specify in the value_if_true argument. If the condition is false, Excel will return the value you specify in the value_if_false argument.

The COUNTIF formula is a simple but powerful tool in Excel. It allows you to count the number of cells in a range that meet a specific condition. For example, let's say you have a list of customer transactions and you want to find out how many customers spent more than $100. Instead of manually counting each transaction, you can use COUNTIF to do it for you.

Here’s how the formula works:

=COUNTIF(range, criteria)

The range is the range of cells you want to evaluate. The criteria is the condition you want to use (in our example, the amount spent).

The CONCATENATE formula is a great tool for combining text in Excel. It allows you to join two or more strings together to create a single text string. This can be really useful if you need to combine data from different cells into a single cell. For example, let's say you have a list of customer data and you want to create a full name column. Instead of manually typing in each full name, you can use CONCATENATE to do it for you.

Here’s how the formula works:

=CONCATENATE(text1, [text2], ...)

The text1 parameter is the first text string you want to join. You can include up to 255 text strings in total. If you want to include a space between the text strings, just add it in between the parameters (for example, =CONCATENATE(A1, " ", B1) would join the text in cell A1 and cell B1 with a space in between).

And there you have it! These are just a few of the formulas that Excel has to offer, but they're some of the most useful ones in my opinion. Using formulas can save you a ton of time and make your work much more efficient. So next time you're working in Excel, try out some of these formulas and see how they can help you.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to organize my grocery list in Excel.