Tag Archives: Formulas

IFS function: Goodbye nested IFs

With Excel 2016 and Office 365 Pro plus, a less confusing and powerful function was introduced – IFS function. It eliminates the confusion generated by multiple nested IFs for complex calculations. In any case, if you are using multiple nested IF statements, check whether VLOOKUP can solve the issue or use Pivot Table grouping.

Nested IFs look like this:

image

The same formula using IFS function is much simpler to type and understand :

image

IFS function has just ONE set of brackets, irrespective of the number of conditions used. It also offers the last argument for default return value – in case all other conditions did not produce any output.  Try using it.

The function will return an error if used in versions before Excel 2016. Be careful.

Excel Function Warning

When you type  something in a cell after an = sign in Excel, a list of functions is shown.  Functions have an icon next to them. For some functions, the icon shows a Yellow triangle with an exclamation mark. That is the Excel Function Warning I am talking about.

No warning No Excel Function Warning                         Warning Excel Function Warning for STDEV function

What exactly is the Excel Function Warning?

It basically means: “Do not use this function. We have a new and more accurate function available now”.  If you use only newer versions of Excel, you should use the newer functions.

Standard Deviation

Here is an example. The older STDEV function now has two separate functions STDEV.S and STDEV.P – S means sample and P means population. The mathematical formula used behind the scenes by these functions is different. As mathematics advances further, the logic used also undergoes improvement. The newer functions utilize the latest algorithms to increase accuracy of your results.

Best practice

  • Notice if any of the your formulas have one or more Excel Function Warning icon.
  • Go to the help file of that function.
  • The newer, better or more appropriate function will be listed there.
  • Learn the new function(s). Understand what has changed and why.
  • Change these across your files to ensure more accurate results.
  • Use the new function when you create new workbooks.

image

Excel IF function – Dos and Don’ts

imageSo far, I have not written an article about the humble IF function. But in the last few months I came across many customers who asked me to explain how the IF function works. Surprised? The reason is that many people use the Excel IF function, but they do not understand its nuances.

Usually someone has created a file and is handed over from person to person. Worse still, those who know how to use the IF function misuse it! So here it is a simple, short and practical description of how to use the IF function.

Continue reading Excel IF function – Dos and Don’ts

Excel – Impact Analysis – Trace Dependents

The Need: Trace Dependents

Excel workbooks are complex. Multiple persons share and handle the same file. We keep mailing them to each other. Often the person who created the file has left the organization long back. There is never any documentation available about exactly how a file works.

Due to all this, it is almost impossible to remember which value is used in which formula. When you are about to change a value or add more data to existing block, it is absolutely necessary to ensure that all the related formulas are updated. If you forget to update the formula, the results shown there will be outdated and WRONG. This can hamper decisions and can have severe side effects.

What we need is a way to find out which formulas to update when any data changes or grows. Excel has provided this facility since 25 years. Unfortunately, very few people are even aware of it – leave alone using it!

Continue reading Excel – Impact Analysis – Trace Dependents