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## Excel Report – 9 Tips to Write Lookup Formulas More Effectively

This isn’t breaking news, but anyone who has worked with Excel reports using formulas and functions will know the keys to using lookup formulas successfully. They are important for creating almost any spreadsheet or dashboard.

That’s why when you learn how to extract information from Excel tables, you will be really excited, because you will be able to go into a deeper and deeper understanding of the use of spreadsheets and Excel formulas.

Excel formulas used to create Excel reports are considered very problematic. Here are 9 simple tips that you can implement right now that will go a long way in avoiding problems.

- Be aware of the methods available to you: VLOOKUP, INDEX and MATCH, SUMPRODUCT, Array formulas, COUNTIF, COUNTIFS, SUMIF, SUMIFS, AVERAGEIF, AVERAGEIFS
- Take the time to prepare the back end index column so you can avoid “matching headaches” in the future. To avoid misspellings, delete leading/spaces/trailing spaces, reverse numbers stored as text, put dates in correct ordinal format, etc.
- For a legitimate NA to have an escape plan, a report with NA errors looks unprofessional and unreliable
- Avoid hard-coded arguments. If you need to change different instances of a formula on a sheet, you change only the source cell.
- Learn how to reference lookup arguments, especially dates
- Use absolute references when specifying arrays in lookup formulas. This way when you copy and paste the formula, it always points to the correct data set
- Check different lookup values to increase the security of your formula. Test if your formula gets the expected values from the backend table
- If you fall into an NA trap, don’t despair, use an escape plan. First check for mismatches in the left index column, then skip to any issues in the lookup formula.
- Use a simpler formula version, for example: SUM IF array formula instead of SUMIF If you use Excel 2007, use SUMIFS, COUNTIFS, AVERAGEIFS instead of array formulas.

I use the above techniques all the time. Get the results you need by using them on a consistent basis.

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