Whether you are applying for a new job or looking to get ahead in your current one, there are four key advanced Excel formulas that you should know in order to be successful. The following four formulas are extremely flexible and extremely powerful. Used by themselves or with others, these four advanced Excel formulas will enable you to amplify your data analysis.
1. VLOOKUP Formula
The VLOOKUP formula is one of Excel’s most useful functions. Consequently, knowing how to design and use VLOOKUPs is an Excel skill frequently requested by hiring managers. If you are confronted with a large set of data, a VLOOKUP allows you to pull select values out of the data set by defining a look-up value (such as a name or other unique key). The look-up value tells Excel which row in your data set to pull data from. Once you’ve specified the row you need via your look-up value, you simply need to tell Excel which column to pull data from. The VLOOKUP formula will pull the data at the intersection of the row and column you have specified. So, if your data set is very large, the VLOOKUP formula makes it very easy to quickly find the specific data you need. This makes the VLOOKUP one of the most important advanced Excel formulas you can learn.
2. IF Formula
The IF formula allows you to insert logic into your data analysis. It functions as a simple “If…, then…” statement does in regular speech. Using the IF formula, you can create a logical test (such as A1>0), have Excel evaluate your statement/test, and then create two outcomes (based on whether the statement/test you have created evaluates as true or false). The real power in this particular advanced Excel formula lies in nesting the functions, which enables you to create logic trees. You can create an initial IF formula and then build additional IF formulas to serve as the outcomes of the initial formula. So, if A1>0 evaluates as true, you can tell Excel to evaluate the IF formula A2>10, and so on. Using the IF formula, it is very easy to design very complicated decision-making sequences.
3. CONCATENATE Formula
The CONCATENATE formula is a text formula, and its use is tied to the most important advanced Excel formula (the VLOOKUP). CONCATENATE enables you to combine two or more strings of text (or numbers) together. For example, if cell A1 contains “First” and cell A2 contains “Last”, then you can use CONCATENATE to create the value “FirstLast” in cell A3. This is especially helpful if you need to create unique look-up values (or keys) for a VLOOKUP formula. And if you have trouble remembering how to spell “Concatenate”, you can simply use the “& “symbol between your cell references (i.e. use A1&A2 rather than CONCATENATE(A1,A2)).
4. AND/OR Formulas
AND and OR formulas are two very similar types of logical formulas (much like the IF formula). The reason they are included on our list of advanced Excel formulas is because when they are used in conjunction with the IF formula, the flexibility of the IF formula increases exponentially. AND works just like you would expect it to. If everything inside of the formula evaluates as true, then the entire formula evaluates as true. If even one function inside the formula evaluates as false, the entire formula evaluates as false. OR works very similarly, except as long as at least one function inside the formula evaluates as true, the formula will evaluate as true. Only if every function inside OR evaluates as false will the entire formula evaluate as false. So, if you nest an AND or OR formula inside an IF formula, you can create extremely powerful advanced Excel formulas.
Learn Even More Advanced Excel Formulas
While these four formulas are some of the most important formulas to learn, there are many other advanced Excel formulas that will enable you to unlock the full potential of Microsoft Excel. Signup for one of our classes or upcoming webinars to learn about even more formulas and how you can use them in your everyday work.
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