(In Process)Reading Notes for "别怕, Excel函数其实很简单I" Written by Excel Home

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I-2: Formulas

Use Formulas tab to find formula if we need

Auto Fill Formula

  • Use tab to auto-fill formula name when typing
  • Use Ctrl + Shift + A to pre-fill all parts of formula

Format Cell for Formula

  1. Make sure cell has general format:right cell then Format Cells
  2. Many such text cells: Data -> Text to Columns -> Delimited -> Uncheck Delimited Character -> Set Regular Column Format

For non-calculating numbers (such as IDs), it is proper to convert cells to text format. Otherwise ending 0s will be eliminated and there is no way to restore it

Copy Formulas to Other Cells

  1. Ctrl + Alt + V: paste with selection
  2. Curse to extend current cell

Variables and Values

Compare Values in Excel
  • smallest: number
  • largest: boolean
  • Date: transfer to number then compare


Special Characters
  • &: combine two data to a next text
  • A rangesingle spaceB range: common cells of A and B
  • A range,B range: all cells of A and B


F4 (Fn + F4) is used to switch reference style

  • A1 format:relative reference
  • $A$1 format: absolute reference. Used for any fixed value cell
  • $A1 or A$1 format: absolute in row or column only
  • Worksheet!A1 format:define name of worksheet to cell
  • ' &a' format: '' is used to quote special characters in formula

Basic Formulas

Use "" to wrap criteria


ISTEXT, ISERR... format: check format of cell

Nested Or Simple IF
  • =IF(compare2, true_result, IF(compare1_formula, true_result, false_result))- A tree map will help nested IF formula
  • IF + SUBSTITUTE: transfer cell format: =IF(ISNUMBER(B2),B2, SUBSTITUTE(B2, "'$'", ""))
  • IFERROR: Eliminate error values, such as divide by 0. =IFERROR(A1/B1,0)

Can be combined with IF to avoid too nested IF functions

  • ?: one random character
  • *: any random characters (0 - many)
  • ~: escape ? and *

I-3: Calculations


SUMIF(filter_range, criteria, sum_range)

Excel will search position in filter_range, then sum the same portion in sum_range

  • sum_range can be eliminated if it is the same as filter_range
  • sum_range can cover columns with different type of cells. Excel will automatically filter the cell
  • Sum without any error cells: SUMIF(range1, "<=9E+307", range2)
  • Filtering based on cell: SUMIF(range1, ">="&A1, range2)
Practice Question: find sum of last borrowed books


SUMIFS(sum_range, criteria_range1, criteria1, criteria_range2, criteria2, ...) - multiple filter criteria

Total of sum_range should equal to total of each criteria_range


AVERAGEIF(range, criteria, [average_range]) and AVERAGEIFS(average_range, criteria_range1, criteria1, [criteria_range2, criteria2], ...)

Might need to use absolute in criteria


=COUNTIF(Where do you want to look?, What do you want to look for?)

Count Number of Cells based on criteria

  • Count number of cells in range: =COUNT(range, criteria) or =COUNTIF(range, "<>"")
  • Count empty cells (null as content): =COUNTIF(range,"=")
  • Count non-empty cells(including "" as content):=COUNTA(range, [criteria]) or =COUNTIF(range,"<>")
  • Count non-empty cells(excluding "" as content):=COUNTIF(range,"*")
  • Count all empty cells(including "" as content): =COUNTBLANK(range) or =COUNTIF(range,"")

COUNTIFS(criteria_range1, criteria1, [criteria_range2, criteria2]…)

Similar rule as above

Delete Extra Digits


ROUND(number, keep_digits) for Number Cell and FIXED(number, [decimals], [no_commas]) for Text Cell

keep_digits can be positive, 0 (integer) or negative (0s in integer)

ROUNDUP(number, num_digits) and ROUNDDOWN(number, num_digits)
Delete parts after decimal point
  • TRUNC(range, [digits_after_decimal_point]): no round, just delete
  • INT(number): always round down to an integer

I-5: Texts


Combine String
  • CONCATENATE(text1, [text2], ...): no range, just cells
  • &: no range, just cells
String Length

DBCS include Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), and Korean.

  • LEN(cell): count character length
  • LENB(cell): count bytes. Only when a DBCS language is set as the default language->2 for Asian Characters
Compare String
  • =: not case sensitive. Compare text type ("25" != 25)
  • EXACT(text1, text2): no compare text type ("25"=25), case sensitive
Find Location
  • FIND(find_text, within_text, [start_num]): case sensitive. don't allow wildcard characters.
  • SEARCH(find_text,within_text,start_num): not case sensitive. Allow wild card
  • FINDB(same) and SEARCHB(same): return bytes

SEARCHB("?",cell): find first singe-byte character in cell

Practice Question

subtract Chinese characters from ChineseEnglish formatted string: =LEFTB(cell, SEARCHB("?",cell)-1))

  • LEFT(text, [length_of_chars_to_substract]): first length of characters. from most left
  • RIGHT(text, [length_of_chars_to_substract]): last length of characters. from most right
  • MID(text, start_num, length_of_chars_to_substract): start from left
Practice Question

Split money amount to difference cells



Find and Substract Characters Before
  • LEFT(cell, FIND(find_text, within_text, [start_num])-1)
  • RIGHT(cell, LEN(cell)-FIND(find_text, within_text, [start_num]))
Substitute in String

-SUBSTITUTE(cell, old_text, new_text, [the index of occurrence]): by text: one-to-one -SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(text, old_text, new_text, index1), old_text, new_text, index2): by text: one-to-many - REPLACE(cell, start_num, num_chars, new_text): by position: find position/length of characters and replace it

Text Function

Shortcut: Ctrl+1 ( Command+1 on the Mac) -> Not change data itself

=TEXT(Value you want to format, "Format code you want to apply"): change the data in cell. Always return text format. Always start from right.

Second Parameter - Normal Format

Example: =TEXT(C4, "z;$;128;t")

  1. format_for_positive_number; format_for_negative_number; format_for_0; format_for_text: cell will be modified based on its correspondence.
  2. Skip the last few criteria will make format only apply to criteria appearing. For example =TEXT(C4, "z;$") will only apply to non-negative and negative number
Value! Error

Use ! or \ to escape special characters!

  1. when special characters are used to format a string, such as a,m,y, etc.
  2. if special format like yyyy is used to too large/small number, Value! error will appear
Second Parameter - Self-Defined Format
  • Still no more than four criteria
  • [judge1]format1;[judge2]format2;format_for_not_satisfy_judge1_and_judge2 ;format_for_text: =TEXT(B2, "[>1000]z;[<-9000]$&TT;128;t")
  • [judge1]format1; format_for_not_satisfy_judge1
  • [judge1]format1; [judge2]format2;format_for_not_satisfy_judge1_and_judge2
Second Parameter - Pre-Defined Format
  • 0: 1 digit. If number has less length than 0s, number will be automatically add 0s from most left digit
  • 0.000: define how many digits after decimal point
  • ?: 1 digit, but no 0s showing on most left digits and non-used 0s after decimal point. Space will be used to make up empty slots after decimal point.
  • #: 1 digit. No make up empty slots
  • ,: automatically add , for thousands. To make numbers larger than 1000 only show before 1000 part: =TEXT(A1,"0,")
  • dates: yyyy, mm...
  • texts: string from right. if a cell is 11507, =TEXT(C3,"0\y\e\a\r0\m\o\n\t\h0\d\a\y") will output 115year0month7day
Common Cases
  • decimal to fraction: = TEXT(B3, "# #/#")
  • show number in million: =TEXT(B3, "0.0#,,")

Transfer between Numbers and Text

  • Number cell: left assign
  • Text cell: right assign
Number to Text

following functions in Excel 2016 (Windows/Mac) seems not change format showing in tool bar anymore. I need more investigation

  • = TEXT(D3, "@")
  • =D3&""
  • 'ddddd: add ' before number will transfer cell to text without showing '
SUM Problem

To make SUM function work: 1. cell is in number format 2. content in cell are pure numerical

Text to Number
  • VALUE(cell): transfer cell directly
  • cell+0 or --cell

I-6: Search by Using Formulas

=VLOOKUP(Value_to_look up, range_to_lookup, column_number_in_range_containing_return_value, Approximate Match – 0/FALSE or 1/TRUE)

Rule1: Matching data in column has to be unique! Rule2: VLOOKUP will automatically search from left to right => The helper column should be on the most left if no more adjustment.

  • If no result found, return #N/A
  • If eliminate last criteria, make sure to add last , for exact match. Otherwise Excel will do approximate match
  • Approximate search using number smaller or equal to search value
  • Can use wildcard
Common Usage
Replace IF to find value providing range
  1. enter the lowest value in new column
  2. using approximate VLOOKUP: =VLOOKUP(cell_to_look_up, absolute_range_of_lowest_and_matching_value, 2, 1)


Return Multiple Columns in One Row

= VLOOKUP($E$10, $A$2:$C$5, COLUMN(B:B), 0): use absolute value to look up and use COLUMN() to automatically update column number

Return Multiple Record

Be creative and flexible about COLUMN and ROW function!

  1. Add a new column, then count occurrence of each record matching the lookup value using $look_up_cell&COUNTIF(range_of_names, $_look_up_cell&"*"). A1 is the start of name


  1. Using IFERROR(VLOOKUP($absolute_look_up_cell&(ROW(A1)-row_number),range_of_all,COLUMN(M:M),0),"") to find match with new column


Lookup by Multiple Criteria

IDEA: combine multiple search to one helper column. To avoid combination mistake, add special character "@" in the middle

  1. Adding helper column on most left: =$D10&"@"&$E10&ROW(10:10)
  2. VLOOKUP Function with error prevention:=IFERROR(VLOOKUP($H$14&"@"&$I$14&(ROW(14:14)-4), $B:$F, 2,0),"")
Possible Errors
  1. Cell may include hidden space or invisible character at the end of string: use LEN() to judge
  2. Target cell has different format from target range

HLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, row_index_num, [range_lookup])

Same as VLOOKUP, the helper row should be the first row


MATCH(lookup_value, lookup_array, [match_type]): return relative position of look_up_value in lookup_array. If the cell is repeated in column/row, MATCH function will only return the position of its first appearance.


Has to be one row or one column

  • 1: default. Find smaller or equal to look_up_value. The look_up_array has to be ascended sorted.
  • 0: the first value equal to look_up_value
  • -1: Find larger than or equal to look_up_value. The look_up_array has to be descended sorted.
Common Usage
Find Repeated Cell in Two Rows/Columns

Use ISNA to judge N/Avalue: =IF(ISNA(MATCH(I10,$C$10:$C$19,0)),"FALSE","TRUE")

Retrieve the First Record of All

The result of match is equal to the row number if the cell is the first appearance

  1. Helper Column/Row to show the first appearance of all cells: =MATCH(C10,$C$10:$C$19,1)=(ROW(C10)-9). The row number might need adjustment!
  2. Output cells with TRUE in helper column/row: = IF(G11 = TRUE, C11)
  3. Filter all non-FALSE value
Get the Record that Only Showing Once

=IF((MATCH(I10,$C$10:$C19,0)=MATCH(I10,$C$10:$C19,1)), "UNIQUE", "NOT UNIQUE")

INDEX - Find Cell by Relative Position

  • AREAS(cell): return how many cell is referenced
Return a reference to the cell
  • INDEX(array, row_num, [column_num]): with row number and/or column number
  • INDEX(row_array or column_array, number): the nth cell in a row or a column
Return Real Data
  • INDEX({"array","in","text"}, number): return real data in array


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