Incrementing Indirect Column References Within SUMIF(S)/COUNTIF(S) 13

Most Excel users are aware that, when a formula containing relative column references is copied to further columns, those references are updated accordingly. So, for example, the formula:


when dragged to the right, will become, successively:


etc., etc.

And so we have a relatively (no pun intended) simple means by which we can obtain a conditional sum from successive columns.

But what if the range we wish to increment is being referenced indirectly? For example, what if we are using a version of the above, but in which the sheet being referenced is dynamic, viz:


where A1 contains the sheet name (e.g. “Sheet1”) which is to be referenced at any given time?


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 #3: Results and Discussion 1

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

This one provoked quite a bit of debate, and not all of it Excel-related! As I already have to several readers, I must again apologize for the lack of realism and statistical know-how inherent in the premise for this challenge, which was evidently constructed more with the required formula-work in mind than with any serious thought to methods in demography.

Still, at least some fascinating and impressive Excel work came out of it all, so perhaps my poor groundwork is somewhat forgiven, at least retrospectively!


VLOOKUP Across Several Worksheets (2) – Multiple Search Criteria 8

I recently made the post here, in which I presented a solution to the problem of returning a value based upon matching a single criterion in a given column across multiple worksheets.

In this follow-up post I will look at the analogous case in which we are not matching a single criterion, but several. As mentioned in the first instalment, I will look at two solutions to this problem, one in which we make use of an extra “helper” column in each of the relevant worksheets, and one in which we do without such aids.


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!


Coercing array returns from CSE-resistant formulas 7

We usually face no problems in cases where we wish to apply a formula to, not just one, but an array of values. And of course we do this by simply committing the formula as an array formula, i.e. with CSE.

However, not all formulas yield so easily, and some stubbornly resist any attempts at coercing an array of returns from them. Here I would like to discuss some techniques which, in addition to array-entry, can help coerce the desired result.

The principal method in such cases is to use a construction involving OFFSET, though a set-up using INDEX is equally viable; indeed, due to its non-volatility, perhaps even preferable. Some cases may require even more coercion than that, and others less. But the one thing they all share in common is that, on its own, array-entry just isn’t enough!


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.



We sometimes look for non-array (i.e. non-CSE) versions of constructions which would normally require array-entry. Our reasons for doing so may be varied:

1) We may feel that it improves spreadsheet performance (sometimes true, sometimes not)

2) We perhaps have a dislike for having to use the required keystroke combination necessary for committing array formulas

3) We may simply be interested from a theoretical point of view


Advanced Formula Challenge #4: Results and Discussion Reply

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

This one turns out to be a good deal more complex than it at first appears, and so perhaps not surprisingly no correct results were received..

GreasySpot at first thought that Advanced Filter would be a viable solution, but quickly realised that it wasn’t actually appropriate here. Besides, as I mentioned, the idea of this (and of all these challenges in fact) is to try to achieve the results using worksheet formulas alone.

So how can we achieve our desired results?


INDEX: Returning an array of values 18

Perhaps one of the most widely-believed myths surrounding INDEX is that it is not possible to coerce a return of more than one value from the array passed to it.

At first sight, and after various attempts at coercing such a return (including array-entry), it does indeed seem for all the world that INDEX cannot be so induced, and stubbornly persists in returning just the first element in any array generated.

Granted, the required coercions are not obvious (the first of which is borderline tautological: the necessary initial clause, IF(1,… – or any other suitable value in place of 1 – is self-evidently TRUE), though, for example, the following non-array formula: