Molecular Weights 8

I wouldn’t normally publish a post on such an esoteric topic as this. However, since the idea for it came as a result of a challenge posed by the venerable David Hager, I felt that I could not resist.

And that challenge was as follows: given a list of chemical elements and their respective atomic weights, a formula to determine the weight for a given molecule.

It goes without saying that there are numerous quick and easy online applications which will perform such a calculation. Nevertheless, and however unlikely it may seem, there is still a small probability that this post will reach one or more of the tiny minority who have a practical need for such calculations to be performed within Excel (and, in addition, perhaps without recourse to VBA).


Advanced Formula Challenge #12: Results and Discussion 2

Last week I set readers the challenge which can be found here.

Such was the number and variety of responses to this challenge that presenting a detailed breakdown of one such solution – as has been the case for all of the first eleven in this series of challenges – would, I feel, be somewhat inappropriate.

For the majority of these challenges, it could be argued that there has been one solution which is indisputably “better” than the rest. Perhaps such an adjudication can also be made here, though to do so would certainly not be a straightforward exercise. What’s more, to pick just one of the many solutions would be to leave the rest – unfairly in my opinion – left on the sidelines.

As such, I would refer the readers to the many solutions in that post and to enjoy dissecting the varied and wonderful constructions therein. And to simply thank all those – Alex, aMareis, Maxim, John Jairo, sam, Jeff, Lori, Ron, Michael, Christian and XLarium – whose excellent contributions led to such a fruitful and inspiring discussion.

There’s evidently still much to be discovered in the world of worksheet formulas!

Another challenge to follow shortly. Watch this space!

Shortest Formula Challenge #4: Results and Discussion 4

Last week I set readers the challenge which can be found here.

A good response to this one, leading to a solution for which, in the end, most people who responded can take some credit.

Snakehips started the ball rolling with a nice logical construction involving “OR”ing two separate COUNTIFs; John Jairo V then shaved off several characters from this solution; this was then further refined by Elias; and, finally, after several attempts at constructing a solution using FREQUENCY, Alex Groberman took the COUNTIF set-up and wrapped it in that most wonderful of functions – MODE.MULT – to give us our winner.


Advanced Formula Challenge #9: Results and Discussion Reply

Last week I set readers the challenge which can be found here.

One correct solution received, courtesy of Lori, who not only presented a fine construction for working in Excel 2010 and earlier, but also a 2013 version, which had the added benefit of taking advantage of some of the new (and evidently very useful) features of that version to noticeably abridge the required set-up. So many thanks to Lori for sharing this knowledge and also congratulations on an excellent solution to a particularly complex challenge!


Extracting numbers from a string 4: All numbers to a single cell 2

This is the fourth in a series of discussions on the techniques available for extracting numbers from an alphanumeric string.

In the first instalment in this series (which can be found here) I looked at extracting consecutive numbers which appear at the start of the string, e.g. 123ABC456.

In the second instalment (here) I looked at extracting consecutive numbers which appear at the end of the string, e.g. 123ABC456.

In the third instalment (here) I looked at extracting all numbers from a string where each of those numbers was to be returned to a separate cell. For example, given the string 81;8.75>@5279@4.=45>A?A; we extracted 81, 8.75, 5279, 4 and 45 into individual cells.

In this post I will look at a technique for extracting all numbers from a string, but where those numbers are to be returned as a single number in a single cell.


Collating from multiple sheets based on conditions 5

Some of us may be familiar with the standard technique using INDEX, SMALL, etc. which, given a single-column or single-row array, we can use to return a list of only those values which satisfy one or more criteria of our choosing.

In a previous post (see here) I outlined a method which, given a range consisting of more than one column, returned a single column consisting of all non-blank entries from that range. It can easily be verified that the single condition within this formula (i.e. that the entry be non-blank) can be extended to multiple criteria and so, effectively, we now have at our disposable the means with which to generate single-column lists from both one- and two-dimensional arrays.

But can we go one further yet again? “Three-dimensional” is the collective term often applied to those formulas in Excel which are capable of operating over not just single columns or rows, nor yet ranges consisting of multiple columns or rows (two-dimensional), but which also function effectively over multiple worksheets.


Advanced Formula Challenge #7: Results and Discussion 1

Last week I set readers the challenge which can be found here.

This is a trickier problem than it at first appears, and indeed there are several pitfalls which prevent us from using more “standard” techniques to arrive at a solution.

Perhaps the two main (hidden) obstacles, which were not immediately obvious from the examples I gave, are, firstly, the fact that we are prevented from using a construction involving a SEARCH-approach (e.g. by locating occurrences of each substring of the four types *????*, †????*, *????† and †????†, as John Jairo V attempted), since this of course presumes that there is only one occurrence of each of those substring types within our string, a presumption which cannot be made.


Advanced Formula Challenge #5: Results and Discussion 5

Last week I set readers the challenge which can be found here.

This is a reasonably complex problem, and certainly so if we want to present a solution which is relatively concise. However, despite its complexity (and arguably lack of practical use), the solution demonstrates some important techniques for working with strings, and so is not without merit.

The required set-up is as follows:


IFERROR techniques for excluding certain values from results 6

We are often in a position where we wish to exclude certain values from an array of results before passing that array to another function.

For example, a common, practical situation is that of finding the minimum value from a range whilst excluding zeroes. This can be done in several ways, for example using an array formula:


or, if we have Excel 2010 or later, using AGGREGATE:



Single column from many (containing blanks) (1) – Rows first 15

Given a two-dimensional array, potentially containing some empty cells, it is sometimes desirable to create a list of all non-blank entries from that array in a single column.

In general, it is not a major concern in which order the returns appear in this new column, and indeed the “standard” solution for this problem is the one given here, in which those returns are listed in an order which is consistent with the entries from an entire row from the original array being returned prior to moving onto those in the next row. The converse, in which entries are returned in a columns-first fashion, will be the subject of my first Advanced Formula Challenge post to follow this one.