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OzGrid Excel and VBA Newsletter December 2006

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See Also: Vlookup | Index & Match | 7 Nested IF Limitation | Lookup Table | Sliding Scale Lookup

Lookup With Cell

While we can use any of the links above for lookup formulas, all require a table of cells in a Worksheet. If you only have small number of items to return based on the value of another cell, we can do the lookup without leaving the cell!

Choose & Match

The formulas we can use to perform the lookup within the cell is the CHOOSE function, nested with the MATCH function. See Excel help if unfamiliar we these functions. Ok, let's assume you have a changing value in A1 and depending on that value we wish to return a result to B1. For example, keeping it simple, we have a Validation List that a user can choose from any one of these Cat, Dog, Mouse, Horse or Rabbit. Based on their choice we wish to show a different result in B1. In B1 Enter this formula;

=CHOOSE(MATCH(A1,{"Cat","Dog","Mouse","Horse","Rabbit"},0),"Cat Food","Dog Food","Mouse Food","Horse Food","Rabbit Food")Enter, or choose any value from Cat, Dog, Mouse, Horse or Rabbit and you will see how it works. The use of {"Cat","Dog","Mouse","Horse","Rabbit"} in the MATCH Formula is know as an array constant (See Excel help for details). Not be confused with Array Formulas

Keeping it Clean & Global

The main problems with the above formula is it's long, but most importantly to edit the lookup values or the array constant, we would need to do each cell individually, or use Edit>Replace, if possible. This is where we can Range Names , or specifically Named Constants . However, when done, we can no longer use the CHOOSE Function. We use the INDEX Function instead.

1) Go Insert>Name>Define and type Pet in Names in workbook

2) In Refers to: type ={"Cat","Dog","Mouse","Horse","Rabbit"} and click Add

3) Type PetFood in Names in workbook

4) In Refers to: type ={"Cat Food","Dog Food","Mouse Food","Horse Food","Rabbit Food"} and click Add then Cancel.

Now, in the cell use


When/if we need to edit the named constants PetFood or Pet, we can do so in one location and our result will flow through the entire Workbook.

Lookup Scale

In the above examples we have used text values. However, it is often needed that we need to lookup numbers that match a scale. That is, all results between 0 and 99.99 should return one result, while those between 100 and 199.99 another and so on... Let's say we need to match the sales amount by person to know what percentage their commission is.

1) Go Insert>Name>Define and type Commission in Names in workbook

2) In Refers to: type ={0,0.1,0.2,0.3,0.4,0.5,0.6,0.7,0.8,0.9,1} and click Add

3) Type Sales in Names in workbook

4) In Refers to: type ={0,100,200,300,400,500,600,700,800,900,1000} and click Add then Cancel.

Now, in the cell use


This will return a % between 0 and 100, based on the value in A1.

Sales $ % Commission
0-99.99 0%
100-199.99 10%
200-299.99 20%
300-399.99 30%
400-499.99 40%
500-599.99 50%
600-699.99 60%
700-799.99 70%
800-899.99 80%
900+999.99 90%
1000+ 100%

It is important to note that both array constants (in the Refers to) are in Ascending order and we have use 1 for the optional Match_type argument for the MATCH Function. You can use Descending order, in which case Match_type must be -1

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Current Special! Complete Excel Excel Training Course for Excel 97 - Excel 2003, only $145.00. $59.95 Instant Buy/Download Got any Excel Questions? Free Excel Help . See Normal Excel Sort and Extract Numbers From Text

Sorting Alphanumeric

Excel has a problem trying to sort alphanumeric cells in cells by the number portion only. The reason is simply because Excels Sort feature evaluates each cell value by reading left to right. However, we can over-come this in a few ways with the aid of Excel Macros .

Fixed Length Text

If the alphanumeric cells are all a fixed length we can simply use another column to extract out the numeric portion of the alphanumeric text and then sort by the new column. For example, say we can alphanumeric text in Column A like ABC196, FRH564 etc. We can simply add the formula below to Column B.



=--Left(A1,3) for fixed length alphanumeric text like 196GFT


=--MID(A1,5,4) for alphanumeric text like a-bg1290rqty where you know the number Start s at the 5th character and has 4 numbers

Then Fill Down as far as needed. Then we can select Column B, copy and Edit>Paste Special - Values. Next we sort Columns A & B by Column B and then delete Column B.

NOTE: the double negative (--) ensures the number returned is seen as a true number.

Sort Alphanumeric

Any Length Alphanumeric Text

A problem comes about when the numeric portion and/or the text portion can be any length. In these cases a macro is best. The code below should be copied to any standard Module (Insert>Module). Then simply run the SortAlphaNumerics Procedure.

It should be noted that the ExtractNumber Function has 2 optional arguments (Take_decimal and Take_negative). These are both False if omitted. See the table below to see how alphanumeric text is treated.

Alphanumeric Text Formula Result
a-bg-12909- =ExtractNumber(A1,,TRUE) -12909
a-bg-12909- =ExtractNumber(A2) 12909
a.a1.2... =ExtractNumber(A3,TRUE) 1.2
a.a1.2... =ExtractNumber(A4) 12
a.a-1.2.... =ExtractNumber(A5,TRUE,TRUE) -1.2
abg1290.11 =ExtractNumber(A6,TRUE) 1290.11
abg129013Agt =ExtractNumber(A7) 129013
abg129012 =ExtractNumber(A8) 129013

Alphanumeric Sorting Code

'MUST be at top of same public module housing _Sub SortAlphaNumerics and Function ExtractNumberDim bDec As Boolean, bNeg As BooleanSub SortAlphaNumerics()Dim wSheetTemp As WorksheetDim wsStart As WorksheetDim lLastRow As Long, lReply As LongDim rSort As Range     ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''     'Written by OzGrid Business Applications     '          'Sorts Alphanumerics Of Column "A" of active Sheet.     'ExtractNumber Function REQUIRED     '          ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''       Set wsStart = ActiveSheet       On Error Resume Next   Set rSort = Application.InputBox _        ("Select range to sort. Any heading should be bolded and included", "ALPHANUMERIC SORT", _        ActiveCell.CurrentRegion.Columns(1).Address, , , , , 8)            If rSort Is Nothing Then Exit Sub                If rSort.Columns.Count > 1 Then           MsgBox "Single Column Only"           SortAlphaNumerics        End If                       'Application.ScreenUpdating = False        Set rSort = Range(Cells(rSort.Cells(1, 1).Row, rSort.Column), _            Cells(Rows.Count, rSort.Column).End(xlUp))                   lReply = MsgBox("Include Decimals within numbers", vbYesNoCancel, "OZGRID ALPHANUMERIC SORT")       If lReply = vbCancel Then Exit Sub              bDec = lReply = vbYes              lReply = MsgBox("Include negative signs within numbers", vbYesNoCancel, "OZGRID ALPHANUMERIC SORT")       If lReply = vbCancel Then Exit Sub              bNeg = lReply = vbYes                lLastRow = rSort.Cells(rSort.Rows.Count).Row           Set wSheetTemp = Worksheets.Add        rSort.Copy wSheetTemp.Range("A1")            With wSheetTemp.Range("B1:B" & lLastRow)            .FormulaR1C1 = "=ExtractNumber(RC[-1]," & bDec & "," & bNeg & ")"            .Copy            .PasteSpecial xlPasteValues                Application.CutCopyMode = False        End With                bNeg = False        bDec = False        With wSheetTemp.UsedRange                    .Sort Key1:=.Range("B2"), Order1:=xlAscending, Header:=xlGuess, _                        OrderCustom:=1, MatchCase:=False, Orientation:=xlTopToBottom, _                        DataOption1:=xlSortNormal                        .Columns(1).Cut wsStart .Range(rSort.Cells(1, 1).Address)        End With            Application.DisplayAlerts = False    wSheetTemp.Delete    Application.DisplayAlerts = True    Application.ScreenUpdating = True    End SubFunction ExtractNumber(rCell As Range, _    Optional Take_decimal As Boolean, Optional Take_negative As Boolean) As Double        Dim iCount As Integer, i As Integer, iLoop As Integer    Dim sText As String, strNeg As String, strDec As String    Dim lNum As String    Dim vVal, vVal2          ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''     'Written by OzGrid Business Applications     '          'Extracts a number from a cell containing text and numbers.     ''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''    sText = rCell    If Take_decimal = True And Take_negative = True Then        strNeg = "-" 'Negative Sign MUST be before 1st number.        strDec = "."    ElseIf Take_decimal = True And Take_negative = False Then        strNeg = vbNullString        strDec = "."    ElseIf Take_decimal = False And Take_negative = True Then        strNeg = "-"        strDec = vbNullString    End If    iLoop = Len(sText)                    For iCount = iLoop To 1 Step -1            vVal = Mid(sText, iCount, 1)                                If IsNumeric(vVal) Or vVal = strNeg Or vVal = strDec Then                    i = i + 1                    lNum = Mid(sText, iCount, 1) & lNum                        If IsNumeric(lNum) Then                            If CDbl(lNum) < 0 Then Exit For                        Else                          lNum = Replace(lNum, Left(lNum, 1), "", , 1)                        End If                End If                                 If i = 1 And lNum <> vbNullString Then lNum = CDbl(Mid(lNum, 1, 1))            Next iCount                 ExtractNumber = CDbl(lNum)     End Function

Until next month, keep excelling!

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