Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Making formulae easier to follow in Excel

In the old days, we would write really long formulae with nested functions. Pre Excel 5.0 and in other products, we did not have the niceties of VBA as a supplementary classic programming language so we used to torture ourselves.

Fast forward to 2013 and Excel generations 2007 and later have niceties in display and useage that reduce the pain of long formulae. Courtesy of +Bill Jelen’s discussions on social media, we know that we can use:
  • you can use spaces in the formula. Instead of typing A1+A2, you can type A1 + A2 chunking out the formula and improving readability. You can’t put a leading space before the first = sign. You can’t put a space between the function name and the bracket e.g. SUM( is ok, SUM ( is not
  • you can use Alt+Enter to insert line breaks in the formula bar. Remember that in Excel 2007 onwards, you can pull down the floor of the formula bar, increasing the number of lines Excel will display. This allows more classic programming language display.
  • you can use the Name Box when you build the formula in the Function Builder. We know that. However, did you know that you can use the Function Builder repeatedly in a formula with nested functions?

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