Excel Cut And Paste Cells With Formulas To New Sheet Driving Distance and Time Calculations Using Microsoft Excel and MapPoint

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Driving Distance and Time Calculations Using Microsoft Excel and MapPoint

Microsoft Excel “custom functions” can be used to perform many tasks related to address and zip-code based information, such as importing demographic data, checking address accuracy, and identifying zip codes within a radius. Some of these are discussed in the EzineArticle “Managing Mailing Lists Using Microsoft Excel” by my colleague, Ian Roberts. Custom functions, also known as User Defined Functions (UDFs), perform complex calculations or operations and are used in cell formulas like standard Excel functions SUM, AVERAGE, LOOKUP, etc. In this article we’ll review how custom functions can also be. Used to calculate driving distance and driving time between addresses listed in an Excel worksheet.

Let’s say you have a list of addresses in Excel that needs analysis based on driving distance, driving time, or both. Such analysis can support a variety of purposes – to estimate shipping costs for your business, to optimize delivery service routes, to help plan sales calls. You’re probably familiar with Internet-based mapping services like MapQuest or Google Maps where you input start and end points to get driving directions, mileage, and estimated driving time. This works well for a couple of addresses, but for large sets of data an automated approach is needed.

A custom function that works in conjunction with a mapping program like Microsoft MapPoint can calculate driving distance or time for different route preferences (such as shortest distance or fastest driving time) and automatically return the results to your Excel worksheet. No need to learn a new application, because all interactions with MapPoint happen in the background; You work only within the familiar Excel environment. For example, to calculate the driving time between the addresses listed in worksheet cells A1 and B1, simply input the appropriate custom function formula (for example, inserted into cell C1) that looks like this: “=CustomFunction(A1,B1)”. If you have multiple pairs of addresses in columns A and B, simply copy and paste this formula as needed in column C – this way you can automatically get driving distances or times for thousands of sets of addresses, without the time-consuming manual. Input required for specific mapping programs.

This type of function can calculate routes with specified stopping points along the route, for example, to simulate a real-life delivery route. In this case, in a custom function formula like “=CustomFunction(address 1, address 2, address 3, etc.), list the addresses according to their order in the route. To optimize the route, you can change the address order to see the effect on driving distance or time.

When exact addresses are not available, custom functions can also return driving times or distances using more general addresses based on street name, city, or zip code. The route calculation uses the geographic center of the given address. Address types do not need to be consistent within a single custom function formula. Examples of valid addresses are: “20015” “Louisville, KY” “Washington Street 02121”.

In summary, this is an excellent example of how custom functions in Excel can tap into the power of other programs, such as Microsoft MapPoint, allowing the user to work within the familiar Excel environment. From checking the accuracy of mailing lists to calculating driving distances and times, it’s easy to see how custom functions can be valuable tools to analyzing address information in Excel.

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