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Introduction

This guide was developed as an extension of the Microsoft Excel Fundamentals handout. To fully use

this guide one must have an understanding of the components of Excel’s layout, how to create a

spreadsheet, how to create basic formulas, how to adjust column and row width, and how to change

basic cell formatting.

You will go over the creation of named cells and constants and their use in formulas and maneuvering

your workbook. This is followed by the introduction of tools that allow you manipulate functions and

construct new ones for more specialized uses. Examples of conditional and Lookup functions will

provide you with powerful tools for getting the most out of Excel.

Other ITRC Advanced Microsoft Excel guides will help you utilize the advanced formatting features in

Excel as well as prepare your workbook for printing and the creation of templates. Data management is

introduced using Microsoft Excel’s tools for Data Validation, lists, and filtering. To obtain these guides,

please contact the ITRC.

Topics

I. Naming Ranges, Cells, and Constants

II. Manipulating Formulas

III. Conditional Functions

IV. Lookup Functions

I. Naming Cells and Ranges

Naming ranges in Excel will save you time when writing complex formulas and maneuvering your

worksheets. For example, if you have a range of cells used in several formulas or charts, naming

those cells will allow you to select them whenever you need to. Naming a single cell will allow you

to quickly jump to a specific location in your document.

name.

will be on the left. Once you have clicked inside

the box, the cell name will highlight (Figure 1).

and press the Enter key. If you receive a

naming error, check the following:

a. Names can not have spaces in them (Figure 1)

b. Names can not be the same as a cell

reference (i.e. A1).

c. Names can not begin with a number.

d. Names can not use certain characters.

numbers (Figure 2).

The cells in the example have been named

(Figure 2)

“Numbers” (Figure 2). This is called a

named range.

and click in any cell.

and you will receive of the sum of what’s

(Figure 3)

in your named range of cells (Figure 3).

=SUMIF(named range,"<6") and you

will get the sum of all numbers in your

range less than 6 (Figure 4).

(Figure 4)

Example: Using Named Cells

Idaho State University and press Enter on the

keyboard (Figure 5).

and type in ISU (Figure 5). Press Enter on the

(Figure 5)

keyboard.

3. Go to cell A30 and type University of Idaho in that cell and press Enter. Now click back

on cell A30. In the Name Box, type UI and press Enter on the keyboard.

4. Go and click cell A80 and type in Boise State University. In the name box, type BSU

and press Enter.

5. For practice, repeat these steps in cell A100 and A120 using other schools.

6. Move to any other sheet (or anywhere within this sheet) and select one of the schools

from the name box. Excel will take you to the named cell you select.

2. In the Names in workbook field, enter the name for the formula.

3. In the Refers to field, type = (equal sign), followed by the formula or the constant value.

Note: When using your named cells in creating new formulas, pressing the F3 key while writing your

formula will bring up the Paste Name box. To use this box, double click the named cell you would like

to add to your formula and it will be inserted into your formula.

Note: The Paste Name box is the only place you will find your formulas and constants that do not refer

to specific cells.

Note: To create a list of your named references, select the cell you would like the list to start in. Press

F3. In the Paste Name box, click Paste List. This creates a list of named references that you can refer

back to or print for future use.

II. Manipulating Formulas

Switch between relative, absolute, and mixed references

After you have written a formula you may want to paste or drag it to different parts of your

workbook. To aid in this, Excel has been designed to adjust your formula’s references to reflect the

formula’s new location. There are times, however, when the formula needs to maintain constant cell

references. Changing the cell reference from relative to absolute will allow you to do this.

3. Press F4 to toggle through the combinations. The dollar sign signifies which part of the

formula will remain the same when you dragging or pasting a formula.

Example

=B1*B4

=B7*B10

=B6*B9

=B5*B8

=B4*B7

=B3*B6

=B2*B5

(Figure 6)

1. The original formula was put into cell C4 to calculate the total points earned by Suzy on

Assignment 1. When dragged to the other students, however, it failed to calculate the points

correctly. By looking at the formulas in Column C, you can see that each cell down used a

different cell for Total Points Possible rather than

maintaining its reference to B1 (Figure 6).

the formula window, highlight the reference to cell B1 (Figure 7)

(Figure 7)

now appear before the B and the 1. These dollar signs

will prevent these references from changing when the

(Figure 8)

formula is dragged.

Replace a formula with its result

and maintain its present calculated value.

radio button next to Values (Figure 9). Click

OK. This will permanently remove the formula

from your work book. If you have accidentally

removed a formula immediately click Undo in

the Edit menu.

(Figure 9)

Replace part of a formula with its calculated value

You can replace individual parts of a formula while maintaining the rest of the formula.

1. Click the cell that contains the formula you would like to change.

2. In the formula bar, select the portion of the formula you want to replace with its calculated

value. For example, if you select a function, you must select the entire function name, the

opening parenthesis, the arguments, and the closing parenthesis.

3. After you have made your selection, press F9 to calculate the selected portion.

4. Press ENTER. This will permanently replace that part of your formula. If you have made a

mistake, immediately click Undo in the Edit menu.

Example

(Figure 9)

1. If you look in the formula window you can see that the formula for cell C4 is =B1*B4. We have

selected the reference to cell B1 in the formula window (Figure 9).

2. Now press F9. You can see that the B1 in the formula was

replaced with its value of 100 (Figure 10).

(Figure 10)

Page 5 of 11 Last Modified 9/30/2005

III. Conditional Functions

IF Functions

Returns one value if a condition you specify evaluates to TRUE and another value if it evaluates to

FALSE. An IF function has the following format IF(logical_test,value_if_true,value_if_false)

logical_test: the value or expression that is determined to be true of false. For example, A1<20

could be used as a logical test.

value_if_true: the value returned if the test is determined to be true. This value can be a value,

word, etc. or it can return the value of another cell.

value_if_false: the value returned if the test is determined to be false. This value can be a value,

word, etc. or it can return the value of another cell.

Example

1. In this example, we

are calculating the

student’s final

grade. To do this

we need our formula

to determine which

Midterm Exam the

student scored

highest on.

(Figure 11)

2. In cell E2 (Figure 11) we have calculated Suzy’s final grade by entering the formula

=IF(C2>B2,(C2+D2)/2,(B2+D2)/2).

logical_test: C2>B2

value_if_true: (C2+D2)/2

value_if_false: (B2+D2)/2

3. Because the score in cell C2 was higher than the score in cell B2, the logical test was determined

to be true. Suzy’s final grade was calculated using the value_if_true statement.

Nested Ifs

Up to eight IF functions can be nested to construct more complicated tests.

Example

1. In this example, we need to turn the student’s final grade (column E) into a letter grade

(column F).

2. The formula used to calculate Suzy’s letter grade (cell F2 Figure 22) was:

=IF(E2>94.4,"A",IF(E2>89.4,"A-",IF(E2>84.5,"B",IF(E2>79.4,"B-"

,IF(E2>74.4,"C",IF(E2>69.4,"C-",IF(E2>64.5,"D","F")))))))

3. Because the logical_test (E2>94.4) is false, Excel uses the value_if_false. In this case, however,

the value_if_false is new IF statement instead of a value or cell reference. The logical_test for

the next IF statement is (E2>89.4). This Test, for Suzy, is true so the value_if_true is used.

Suzy will receive an A-.

4. Notice that the formula started with the highest grade and moved down to the smallest grade. If

the formula had started with the smallest percentage grade everyone would receive a D because

their grades all greater than 64.5! Keep in mind that IF statements are applied chronologically.

SUMIF

SUMIF and COUNTIF functions give you the ability to either add or tally a range of cells based on a

specific criteria. Only those cells that meet the criteria are included in the final count.

criteria: is a number, phrase, or text that determines which cells will be added.

sum_range: defines which cells will be summed based on the determined criteria. The cells chosen

here will only be added if the cells in Range meat the Criteria. If you choose not to include a

sum_range the cells in the range will be summed.

Example

(Figure 13)

1. In this example, the professor gave the students three uncounted self-tests. To encourage the

students to do their best, however, ten extra-credit points were offered for each test if the student

scored 85 or above (Figure 13). The professor now needs to determine the total extra-credit

earned by each student.

3. The range (B3:D3) will be evaluated by the criteria (“>84”). For Suzy, Self-Test 1 and Self-

Test 2 failed to meet the criteria (“>84”) because they were less than 85. Self-Test 3, however,

was 87 and the function moved to the sum_range ($B$1:$D$1) to find the corresponding value

to add to Suzy’s extra credit total.

Note: The sum_range ($B$1:$D$1) has dollar signs preceding each cell reference to keep it constant

as the formula was dragged.

COUNTIF

criteria: is a number, phrase, or text that determines which of the selected cells will be counted.

Example

see how the grades were distributed

across the class to determine if a curve

is needed (Figure 14).

number of A letter grades using the

formula: =COUNTIF($B$2:$B$8,“A”)

(Figure 14)

3. The range ($B$2:$B$8) includes each student’s final letter grade. The criteria (A) specifies

which grade is being counted. In cell E3, where the number of A-’s are counted, the range is the

same as the formula in cell E2, but the criteria becomes an A-.

IV. Lookup Functions

Lookup functions search a value or text in the top row or column of a selected set of cells, and then

returns a value from a row or column from the same set of cells. HLOOKUP is used when your search

values are on the top row. VLOOKUP is used when your search values are in the leftmost column.

VLOOKUP

A VLOOKUP function has the following format:

=VLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,col_index_num,range_lookup)

lookup_value: the value, text or reference the function will find in the first column of the array.

table_array: the cell selection that the lookup_value will be searched for.

range_lookup: either “true” or “false” and specifies whether you want VLOOKUP to find an exact

match. If the field is TRUE or omitted and an exact match is not found, the next largest value that is

less than lookup_value is returned. If TRUE is selected, however, the values in the first column of

table_array must be in ascending order (sort command from data menu). If the field is FALSE,

VLOOKUP will look only for an exact match and will return #N/A if one is not found. If FALSE is

selected, that table_array will not need to be selected.

HLOOKUP

A HLOOKUP function has the following format:

=HLOOKUP(lookup_value,table_array,row_index_num,range_lookup)

Lookup_value: the value, text or reference the function will find in the first row of the array.

Table_array: the cell selection that the lookup_value will be searched for.

Range_lookup: either “true” or “false” and specifies whether you want HLOOKUP to find an exact

match or an approximate match. If the field is TRUE or omitted and an exact match is not found, the

next largest value that is less than lookup_value is returned. If TRUE is selected, however, the

values in the first column of table_array must be in ascending order (sort command from data menu).

If the field is FALSE, HLOOKUP will look only for an exact match and will return #N/A if one is

not found. If FALSE is selected, that table_array will not need to be selected.

Example

1. In this example, the professor was teaching a class that could be taken by four different types of

students: graduates working towards 6 credits, graduates working towards 3 credits,

undergraduates, and students auditing the course. Because each type of student was given

different responsibilities, the maximum earnable points varied between student types. Using a

VLOOKUP will allow the professor to change their maximum point values as the semester

progresses without changing each individuals total possible points.

2. In cells A1 through B4 the student type and Total Points Possible were entered. This is where

the professor will make changes to the point values when needed.

3. In cell B8, and continuing down, each student’s type was recorded in relation to their name.

The VLOOKUP formula will use the student’s type to assign the appropriate number of points.

4. The formula in cell D8 calculating the total possible points Suzy could earn is as follows:

=VLOOKUP so (B8,$A$2:$B$5,2,FALSE) The Lookup_value (B8) refers to the student

status the professor determined at the beginning of the semester. Excel then goes to the

Table_array ($A$2:$B$5) to find a corresponding match in the first column of the array.

After a match is made, it goes to the column in the Table_array indicated by the

Col_index_num (2). Because the Range_lookup is false, the formula will look for an exact

match only.

This document may be reproduced for individual or nonprofit use. Users acknowledge that the manual, and all

copyright and other intellectual and proprietary rights therein, are and at all times shall remain the valuable property of

the author. Users agree to respect and not to alter, remove or conceal any copyright, trademark, trade name or other

Idaho State University

Campus Box 8064 proprietary marking that may appear in the manual. Please send comments to itrc@isu.edu. For more information

Pocatello, ID 83209 about the ITRC, visit our Website at http://www.isu.edu/itrc.

208.282.5880

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