Excel – Using VLOOKUP to compare two lists

Years ago the Training and Development manager of a large organisation invited me to spend some time in their Accounts department in order to observe how the Accounts team dealt with their day-to-day tasks. My job was to report on any process that could be improved using Microsoft® Excel.

I’ll always remember asking one of the team (a “just-out-of-school” new recruit) what he was working on after I’d observed him sitting with a red biro and a ruler, diligently drawing red lines on 2 separate sheets of paper. It turned out he was trying to reconcile a customer’s account. Read more

Excel – How can I do a VLOOKUP based on more than one value?

There are times when you want to return a match for a VLOOKUP based on two values, not one.  For example, we may have customers who have multiple branches.  Each branch is recorded under the same customer number.  So how do we look up info for a specific branch if all of the branches are using the same customer number?

Without a doubt ‘Paste Link’ is one of the best time-saving features in Excel.  Linking information from one cell to another saves you from having to update data in several places.

Another fabulous time-saving feature is ‘Paste Special Transpose’. This allows you to copy a horizontal range and paste it vertically, or vice versa. An absolute gem.

But have you ever tried to use the two together?  It isn’t easy at all.  In this post I want to share a wee work-around that will allow you to use the Paste Link and Paste Special Transpose features together. Read more

Excel – How do I sum a range of cells that include #N/A or #DIV/0! errors?

I think most of us will agree that error values can be helpful, and sometimes extremely unhelpful.  For example, the #N/A error (Value Not Available error) is very helpful when cross-referencing two lists using the VLOOKUP function.  If Excel can’t find a lookup value the #N/A error makes it very obvious.

However if you are wanting to total a range that includes #N/A errors all of a sudden they aren’t so special any more.  Read more

Excel – Finding and removing duplicate data

One of the many things I absolutely love about my job is that I get to work with so many different people from all kinds of organisations.

However, it doesn’t matter what industry or region I’m working in the challenges of working with large lists of data are pretty much the same.

Something I see often is the need to be able to quickly locate and remove duplicate rows of data (excellent for VLookups).  Most people just sort the data and then manually skim through the excessive lines of information trying to weed out the annoying duplicates.  This works, but boy-oh-boy it can be a time waster. Wouldn’t it be easier to have Excel quickly display the duplicates for you?  Then all you need to do is deal with them. Read more