Excel Formulas you use constantly on the job?

Was wondering what formulas most of you are using on the job? Thanks.

I have excel tests that I will have to do for some final round interviews so was wondering if there are any recommended websites to practice.

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Comments (91)

Jul 13, 2018

(new value/old value) - 1 for calculating growth rates lul

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Jul 15, 2018

Just a tip - parentheses are not needed due to order of operations, which is the whole advantage of writing it this way instead of (new - old) / old.

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Most Helpful
Jul 13, 2018

Index(match,match) all day, every day, twice a day.

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Jul 13, 2018

Can you explain this function and what you use it for?

Jul 13, 2018

Finding specific values in a table where you don't necessarily know which column row the item is in. Similar to vlookup but a bit beefed up.

As an aside, I definitely got dinged at an interview for not knowing this. Then I entered the workforce and literally never encountered a situation where I needed it until ~2 years in.

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Jul 14, 2018

Indexmatch > vlookup

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Jul 21, 2018

Its actually not though in terms of excel resource efdiciency

Jul 14, 2018
TheStory:

Its actually not though in terms of excel resource efficiency

Can you expand on this? I like index match more because you don't have to worry about how the data is organized and there is no need to count the number of columns.

Jul 21, 2018

It comes down to the 0's and 1's whoch is outside of my wheelhouse if I'm being honest.

Probably wont matter for anything you do in banking. The short version is each time you use the formula Index, excel saves an array with a name reference, this function is done each time you hit F9 (worse for auto calc). Every index match output that is refenrenced must pull up and recalculate for every value upstream from it. You can illustrate this yourself by creating sequential sheets which pull and index match from the previous sheet. The calculation time / file size will increase exponentially. Now, once you have this calculating very slowly, rearrange the page order and see how poorly it functions. It will likely start pulling incorrect values. (Excel calculates top left to bottom right, page one through page last). Now try throwing a circular reference between your index matches and watch your computer Snow Crash like its 1988.

As a disclaimer I could be off on some of this - happy to hear where that is.

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Jul 24, 2018

This is basically accurate, similar to what I mentioned below.

Jul 17, 2018

If you used vlookup instead of index match in my organisation you would probably be fired.

Index match is also more dynamic. If you add columns into a table later, or change the order of columns the formula will not break.

Jul 17, 2018
REAlias:

If you add columns into a table later, or change the order of columns the formula will not break.

You could have a dynamic table even with a vlookup. Instead of entering the column # of the data set, you use: column("column you are seeking")-column("first column in data")+1. Agreed index match is better.

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Jul 13, 2018

How do you use index match?

Jul 17, 2018

I use it a lot to pull one specific fund's monthly return from a sheet with a fuckload of return streams.

index(ReturnsData, match( x , ReturnsDate, 0), match ( y, ReturnsName, 0)) where x references the cell containing the relevant date, and y is the name of the fund. Drag the formula down several rows so in the end I have a time series of returns for a fund.

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Jul 19, 2018

I've never used MATCH/MATCH, only INDEX(MATCH()). I would always merge two columns for a lookup ID - in your example, date and fund merged to create a unique ID. Then, INDEX(MATCH()).

Cheers, thanks for this.

Jul 18, 2018
theaccountingmajor:

How do you use index match?

Here (the site in general is pretty helpful) for Excel newbies:
https://exceljet.net/formula/two-way-lookup-with-i...

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Aug 8, 2018

sorry if stupid question but why is this matching 1800 and not 2700?

if not set to exact it only takes first digit into account? what if theres a 2000 there instead of 200? would it chose that over 300?

Jul 23, 2018

Neither will a vlookup, as long as you create a table

Jul 13, 2018

Sum

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Jul 13, 2018

Magical Vlookup& IF and Pivot tables

Funniest
Jul 13, 2018

Pornhub.com

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Jul 13, 2018

CapIQ tab -> productivity -> launch Seamless

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Jul 13, 2018

CapIQ tab -> productivity -> launch Seamless

Jul 13, 2018

CapIQ tab -> productivity -> launch Seamless

Jul 13, 2018

Offset
Count
If(And
If(And(Offset(Count

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

Jul 18, 2018

Can you explain when/why you'd used "If(And(Offset(Count" ? creating a dynamic waterfall scenario?

Jul 13, 2018

It's actually not properly sequenced.

I use If(And(Count(Offset a lot to be able to change debt structures, reversion period, and to adjust TI/LCs for downtime.

Using count just eliminates the need to number your periods at the top of the pro-forma by counting the dates instead and offset lets you toggle different scenarios listed on the summary tab.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

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Jul 13, 2018

Countif

Jul 14, 2018

Sumproduct (and be able to use conditional sumproduct)

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Jul 14, 2018

seconding this

other than that, either succumb to the firm preference with LOOKUPS or become exceedingly good at writing a vlookup/hlookup on the fly

It was mind-opening when I realized 90% of reports (at the firm) were done automatically feeding through other software. I feel bad for the guys I know at Morgan Stanley who have to write reports from excel all day every day.

Jul 16, 2018

Another man of culture I see... sumproduct is an incredibly versatile formula when dealing with large amounts of arrays

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Jul 14, 2018

edate and eomonth

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Jul 14, 2018

*(insert condition here)
As it saves me writing an if statement since I'm lazy

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Jul 14, 2018

sumif...a lot

hlookup/hlookup....a lot

offset, pretty handy

date/eomonth...a lot

hlookup and count and match together, makes an array dynamic for when you add in rows or take out rows and still calculate from the same row.

floating arrays for data are pretty cool too.

Crazy nested if formulas...a lot

Jul 15, 2018

Lol, this thread brings me back to the Analyst days of REFing the shit out of a formula and fucking up the entire model then frantically trying to fix it before someone notices.

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Jul 16, 2018

Haha yep, this is why iferror has become one of my favorite formulas. If you error check everything properly (especially circular references), it becomes pretty hard to key in a letter somewhere by accident and blow up the entire analysis.

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Jul 17, 2018

Howeva!!...

IFERROR, if used on everything in the world, can slow a sheet and book down, especially if what's inside the () is cross-sheet referencing. I try to limit my IFERROR to things I know have the possibility to error out.

Market Share curves based on 5 inputs? Yes

Sum of segmented revenue streams? Nah

Jul 16, 2018

Agree with you here, it really only needs to be used for more problematic calcs like interest / draws etc, because if those break the whole model usually goes.

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Jul 18, 2018

Might be a dumb question, but how do you get super proficient in utilizing these excel formulas? I'm currently in UG and have the REFM Modeling course. Am currently reading Linneman's textbook and taking some RE Finance and Investment Analysis at UCLA Extension. I also have my Argus Cert, but when reading this thread I feel like I am lacking in Excel.

Jul 14, 2018
SoCalRE:

Might be a dumb question, but how do you get super proficient in utilizing these excel formulas? I'm currently in UG and have the REFM Modeling course. Am currently reading Linneman's textbook and taking some RE Finance and Investment Analysis at UCLA Extension. I also have my Argus Cert, but when reading this thread I feel like I am lacking in Excel.

Practicing/using it everyday

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Jul 24, 2018

Word^

Jul 14, 2018

To add to this, while it's a bit chicken and egg, although practice will hone your skills it's also a matter of being able to think logically and a few steps in front of yourself.

Practicing will get you there but if you're not naturally inclined towards that way of thinking (I don't know how else to describe it) it'll be just that little bit harder.

Aug 8, 2018

sorry if stupid question, ive seen people mention this but ive never had this issue since im always saving multiple versions of a file im working on....e.g. v1, v2, v3 i dont work directly with debt or anything but i sit next to our Liquidity team and they never have such issues due to making multiple versions each time they make a change or put something through. why does this seem to be different in banking / re?

Jul 15, 2018

Everyone here has pretty much covered the most common and useful formulas so I will weigh in on a couple resources for those trying to refine their Excel skills:

  • Excel basics: https://excelexposure.com/ is a great spot to start no matter what level of Excel you are at. He lays out a very easy to follow syllabus that is organized by ability level.
  • Real estate centric Excel skills: https://www.adventuresincre.com/re-modeling/ is an awesome (and one of few) real estate centric sites and once you have a firm grasp on basic Excel formulas this is a great resource for learning more real estate oriented Excel analysis.
  • Other modeling courses: there are a bunch of paid real estate modeling courses you can take that are publicized here, others can weigh in on which provide the most valuable

If you are entrepreneurial and self disciplined however the first two will give you a great basis for an analyst career.

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Jul 16, 2018

SUMIF
INDEX(Match(Match constantly
SUMPRODUCT for cash flow roll-ups
OFFSET

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Jul 16, 2018

IF/Then and SUMPRODUCT

There is currently a battle in my company over the use of the SUBTOTAL command. It's the nerdiest thing ever and it cracks me up.

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Jul 13, 2018

Team subtotal.

You seem to be a gentleman and a scholar, so I think I know where you stand.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

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Jul 19, 2018

Seconded on SUBTOTAL

Jul 16, 2018

when modelling from scratch sumproduct is life.

Don't need much more.

Maybe some sum ifs and minima.

Jul 17, 2018

I've been using indirect a lot lately. Has been an incredibly versatile tool in organizing a lot of crazy data

Jul 18, 2018

SUMIF
SUMPRODUCT
IF then Nested formulas
Date functions
INDEX MATCH

If I'm pulling in cash flows for multiple months then always index match so I can just drag the formula across without changing column numbers. I'll use VLookup if I'm just doing a simple look up for one value.

Jul 18, 2018

Carl+Z

Jul 18, 2018

large, small can be helpful for me too
other than that, mostly index match, sumif, sumproduct

Jul 18, 2018

F2

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Jul 19, 2018

=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(HOES,ANYWHERE,FALSE),"GET FADED")

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Jul 24, 2018

I agree with most everything on here but I gotta be honest, if you think index is superior to v/hlookups in all instances you're doing it wrong.

Jul 17, 2018

I'm curious, when are the lookups better than index?

Jul 24, 2018

2 advantages of VLOOKUP beyond the obvious simpler syntax:

  1. If switching between sheets, it's much easier/faster to track. With Index/Match you have to switch between the sheets 3 times, with VLOOKUP only once. Can be confusing. Especially when you have to combine more columns for search criteria and especially with new users.
  2. If you have to fill in a large and same formatted database with a primary key index, it's much easier and you can copy it easier.

IMM is of course a better tool to use for standardized, repetitive models, but often it's too complex for a small lookup and search function.

I use VLOOKUP much more often, but like IMM for the heavy lifting modeling stuff we do.

Also, there are easy ways to get around the 'fixed' column/row reference and you can make that dynamic pretty easily, so if someone else goes in and deletes/adds rows to the table it won't cause an error.

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Jul 23, 2018

Use INDIRECT, which eliminates your need to switch between sheets (pretty simple to memorize the array rows/columns). Granted it's an added layer of complexity but fairly simple once you understand the formula's syntax.

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Jul 24, 2018

Agreed, have you tried this with massive files though? Our model is pretty massive as we run a lot of tables/matrices so if you add too many formulas with Index/Match/Offset/Indirect functions combined it can bog it down pretty quickly. Definitely depends on the scenario though, I would guess we are outliers with what we typically report/include in our packages.

Jul 23, 2018

I have. Not sure what your threshold for massive is though. A majority of my models exceed 3,200KB (>=30 tabs) which tend to be fairly slow with processing, especially when incorporating Data Tables/Matricies.

Also if you are constantly in "Page Break View" Excel's processing speed is reduced.

Jul 24, 2018

We typical just view it in Normal, we have macros that adjust all of the printing screen/layouts once we get to that point. Ours is between 5 or 6 meg standard. Last time I counted the tabs were like 42 but we've added since then. But we do have a lot of heavy duty macros.

Jul 23, 2018

That's sizeable, and I thought 30 was alot. I do the same with regards to print screen/layouts. What asset class do you focus on?

Jul 14, 2018

I do this with a vlookup and you're right about making it dynamic. I use vlookup match and count to return you the vlookup row numbe, but that is for line items which are not duplicated.

Jul 14, 2018

For waterfalls, being proficient with MAX(MIN ()) and MIN(MAX()) is helpful

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Jul 20, 2018

Something said this but Sumproduct(-- = incredible for summary charts

Jul 20, 2018

F1

Jul 21, 2018

Datedif

Jul 22, 2018

Excel is primitive. Step your game up folks and get on some real data analytics software :D

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Jul 23, 2018

How many of you Excel guru's can operate without a mouse? I've heard you become light years quicker once you learn all the keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys.

Trying to decide if I want to put in the brain damage to learn or just keep using mouse.

Jul 23, 2018

I can use the keyboard for almost all functions. But there are some things that are just too annoying to do without a mouse like some formatting.

Jul 13, 2018

What formatting is quicker with a mouse?

Shortcuts probably save more time formatting than they do w/ anything else.

I come from down in the Valley, where Mr. when you're young, they bring you up to do like your daddy done.

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Jul 23, 2018

For me it's really niche formatting like getting particular about colors, effects, etc. Nothing you could probably have to use. And when I mean mouse I mean hotkeying to the color pallet and then flipping over to the mouse for a quick second to select an option rather than tab and arrow through everything.

Jul 29, 2018

Use Macabacus or other financial modelling plug-ins. You can map custom palettes and cycle through the colours you use much quicker than with a mouse.

Jul 23, 2018

It's pretty simple - just start slamming that alt button.

Jul 29, 2018

The vast majority of my work time is in Excel, and I'd say the time saved working through keyboard shortcuts rather than a mouse amounts to a 3-4 hours a week. Definitely worth learning.

Jul 23, 2018

Besides obvious ones like INDEX(MATCH), I use these ones a ton:

-INDIRECT
-SUM(OFFSET())
-MID()/LEN()
-CONCATENATE()
-ISNUMBER()

Jul 27, 2018

concatenate is too long; just use ampersands in between your concatenation values

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Jul 24, 2018

Alt H + B + H

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Jul 14, 2018

This bottom borders be thicc

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Jul 14, 2018

can you give a few more like this...super helpful

Jul 18, 2018

Some quick shortcuts I use all the time:

Ctrl + Shift + & = puts boarder around selected area

Ctrl + Shift + - = Erases all boarders in a selected area

Ctrl + Shift + $ = Aromatically puts numbers in Currency format (Although most like to use Accounting format without "$" sign, so Ctrl + 1 = brings up format window and just use Tab key to get to accounting and put in "none" for currency symbol and 0 decimals)

Ctrl + [ = shows exactly where cells are in a selected formula by highlighting them. I like it better than tracing dependents/precedents

Alt + H + 0/9 = increase or decrease decimals. I for some reason find myself using this a lot

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Jul 31, 2018

Instead of Ctrl + V for paste, I do a lot of Alt + H + V.....from there you have all the paste options (values, formulas, format, etc etc).

Any of the Alt + functions those save me time if I know what I'm doing. I still don't know all of them but 100% see the value in dedicating time to learn them

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Jul 31, 2018

Good comments above. Some of my favorites:

  1. I use SUMIFS for multi-conditional summations rather than array formulas since it seems faster. Similarly with its sister functions like COUNTIFS and AVERAGEIFS. Though, be careful with AVERAGEIFS since it is a simple average rather than a weighted average.
  2. For other multi-conditional calculations that the aforementioned formulas can't handle, I use array formulas. While array formulas are great to get a lot of calculations done in one cell, I recommend using multiple columns to "show your work" for more complex calculations. This helps you diagnose issues and make your worksheets easier to understand.
  3. Lastly, I use PivotTables all the time. While not a formula per se, they are extremely useful. The trick I use most frequently with PivotTables is calculating weighted averages. See here for how to use a Calculated Field to determine the weighted average within a PivotTable. Simple averages can cause misleading conclusions, so I generally calculate both a simple average and a weighted average since this helps reveal outliers that may be driving a divergence between the two averages.
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Aug 8, 2018

I like commenting when I have long formulas using +N("COMMENT").

Also, recording macros and editing them a bit if you find yourself repeating something across many tabs.

Aug 8, 2018

I'm just an intern, so probably what I use is different. But I use a lot of vlookups, sumifs, if combined with and/or. I know that these aren't formulas, but a lot of work with the shortcut keys.

Sep 4, 2018
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Nov 5, 2018
Nov 7, 2018
Nov 7, 2018
Nov 8, 2018