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It’s easy to make a drop down list with Data Validation. In this example, people will pick the name of the printers that they use in the office.

First, create a list of printers for the drop down

- List the printers on a different sheet, in a single column
- Then, to name the list, select all the cells, click in the Name Box, type a one-word name “PrimaryList”, and press Enter

Here is the name, “**PrimaryList**“, being typed in the Name Box.

Next, select the cell(s) where you want the drop down list to appear

- On the Excel Ribbon, click the Data tab
- Click the Data Validation command
- From the Allow drop down, select List
- Click in the Source box, and press the F3 key, to see a list of the names in the workbook
- Click on the PrimaryList name, and click OK. That name is added to the Source box, with an equal sign in front of it
- Click OK, to create the drop down list in the cell.

Now, when the cell is active, you can see an arrow at the right border. Click the arrow, and select your primary printer from the list.

That blue cell has also been named – **PPSel** (short for Primary Printer Selected)

Now it’s time to make the data entry sheet a little fancier. We’ll add two more drop down lists, where people can choose the names of the backup printers that they use.

The list of printers is almost the same, but we don’t want them to pick their primary printer again. That printer should be removed from the list.

To check which printer was selected as the primary printer, we’ll add a formula in the column beside the PrimaryList.

NOTE: I’ve formatted the list as a named Excel Table, so when I enter the formula in the first row, it will automatically fill down to the last row.

- The new column has the heading NotUsed.
- The formula in cell C4 is:

**=IF(COUNTIF(PPSel,[@Printer]),””,SUM(MAX(C$3:C3),1))**

That numbers every row, except the one with the printer selected as the Primary Printer (PPSel)

Next, create another named table, with a list of ID numbers from 1 to 10 (to match the number of printers)

In the column to the right, put the heading, “Backup”

Put this formula in the first data row in that column:

**=IF(G4>MAX(Table1[NotUsed]),””, INDEX(PrimaryList, MATCH([@ID], Table1[NotUsed],0)))**

The formula:

- Checks the ID number, to see if it’s greater than the MAX number in the NotUsed column
- If it is greater the result is an empty string
- Otherwise, it uses MATCH to find the position of that ID number, in the NotUsed column
- The INDEX function returns the printer name from that row.

Next, you’ll create a dynamic named range with the list of Backup Printers.

- Select the cell F2, just above the “Backup” heading cell
- On the Excel Ribbon, click the Formulas tab, and click Define Name
- Type “BackupList” as the name
- In the Refers to box, enter the following OFFSET formula, and click OK

**=OFFSET(Lists!$F$3,1,0,MAX(Table1[NotUsed]),1)**

The formula returns a range of cells, with the number of rows based on the maximum number in the NotUsed column. You can see that range outlined with a green dashed line, in the screenshot below.

As the final step, add two more drop down lists on the data entry sheet.

For these drop downs, use the named range that you just created – **BackupList**

After you select a Primary Printer, its name won’t appear in the list for the Backup Printer selection cells.

There are other examples, and the sample workbook for this example, on the Hide Used Items page of my Contextures site.

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]]>The post Excel Filter to Match List of Items appeared first on Contextures Blog.

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Here’s the sample data, and the list of items that we want to filter — Milk and Cookies. The table in column F is named **tblFind**, and cells F2:F3 are named **FindList**.

We’ll look at two options for filtering the list:

- Filter rows that have an
**exact Product match for items**in the list - Filter rows that
**contain an item**in the list, anywhere in the Product field

Both options will use an Advanced Filter, so a Criteria range is added to the worksheet.

We’ll be using a formula in the criteria cell, so type a heading that is different from any heading in the data table, or leave the criteria heading blank.

For the first filter, we want to find rows with a product that is an exact match for one of the list items.

- In cell C2, enter the following formula. It refers to the named range in the list of items, and the first Product cell in the data table.

**=COUNTIF(FindList,C5)**

The formula uses the COUNTIF function to check each record, and test for the list items. Rows with an exact match will be returned in the filter.

To run the Advanced Filter:

- Select a cell in the data table
- On the Data tab of the Ribbon, in the Sort & Filter group, click Advanced
- For Action, select Filter the list, in-place
- For List range, select the data table
- For Criteria range, select C1:C1 – the criteria heading and formula cells
- Click OK, to see the results

The 4 rows that have a product that is exactly “Milk” or “Cookies” (case does not matter), are visible, and all other rows are hidden.

For the second filter, we want to find rows with a product that contains one of the list items, anywhere in the Product cell.

- In cell C2, enter the following formula. It refers to the named range in the list of items, and the first Product cell in the data table.

**=SUMPRODUCT(COUNTIF(C5,”*”& FindList &”*”))>0**

The COUNTIF function checks each Product cell, and tests for the list items. The * wildcards are used before and after the list item, so the text can be found anywhere in the Product cell. The SUMPRODUCT function sums the number, and if it’s greater than zero, the result is TRUE.

Run the Advanced Filter with the same settings as in the first example, and the 6 rows that contain “Milk” or “Cookies” (case does not matter) in the product cell are visible.

Watch this video to see how to set up the Advanced Filter, and filter for exact matches in the item list.

To download the workbook with sample data and Excel advanced filter criteria, go to the Advanced Filter Criteria page on my Contextures website. Scroll down to the Download section, and click the download link. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain macros.

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Here’s an example of what happens when you compare a store’s sales based on calendar dates. The sales on April 3rd are much higher in 2016, because it fell on a Sunday, when the stores were busy. For 2017, April 3rd was on a Monday, when sales are usually slow.

To get a better comparison, a Weekday field was added to the source data. With that field in the pivot table, you can compare the first Saturday in each fiscal year.

That makes it easier to see that the sales are down a bit in April 2017, which is the start of Fiscal Year 2018 in this example.

To make this comparison possible, a Weekday field was added to the sales data. It uses a simple TEXT formula to get the 3-letter code for each date’s weekday.

**=TEXT([@Date],”ddd”)**

More formulas were added to the sales data, and you can see all of them on the Fiscal Year Weekdays page on my Contextures website.

To line up all the weekdays correctly, the Fiscal Year and FY Start Date are also calculated.

Then, the Sunday of the FY Start Date’s week is calculated. The formula uses the WEEKDAY function, and there is a named cell, WD_RT, where you can select the return type for that function.

In this example, return type 1 was used, so Sunday is day and Saturday is weekday 7.

After all the Fiscal Year calculations have been added to the sales data table, you can build a pivot table to summarize the data, and compare year over year.

- Fiscal Period was also calculated, and used in the Report Filter area.
- Fiscal Week and Weekday are in the Row area
- Fiscal Year is in the Column area
- Sales Amount is in the Values area

To see all the formulas and the pivot table, go to the Fiscal Year Weekdays page on my Contextures website. In the download section, click the link to get the file. The zipped workbook is in xlsx format, and does not contain macros.

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]]>The post Excel Roundup 20170504 appeared first on Contextures Blog.

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- Learn about the pitfalls of Power Query, in this series of articles from Gil Raviv. He previously led the Power Query team at Microsoft, so he’s certainly well-qualified!
- If you want to learn more about Power BI, Ken Puls is writing a series of free Do It Yourself (DIY) BI ebooks. The first one has Excel tips for Power BI, and other books are coming soon.
- For more information, I’ve put together a Power BI Resources page on my website. There are links to helpful sites, and a couple of video playlists, to get you started. You can also download the resource list (in PDF format)

- On his Let’s Excel blog, Don Tomoff shows how easy it is to format a pivot table with one click. He included one of my videos, so he must be very smart! ;-)
- Chandoo shows a problem with Excel Table formulas that refer to a cell in the row below. Have you run into that problem before? To fix it, I refer to the row above instead. (Level – Intermediate)

- The Science Goddess explains how to build a backwards bar chart, with an example of where she would use one, and why.
- Ann K. Emery shows the steps for planning and building an Excel chart, from the sketching phase, to the completed chart. What works, and what doesn’t? There’s a video that shows the process too.
- On his Clearly and Simply blog, Robert Mundigl shows an amazing interactive Excel dashboard. Usually you have to click on something to run a macro, but Robert makes things happen on the selected chart, when you simply hover over a data point with the mouse.

- On his Engineering Excel blog, Charlie Young shows two quick ways to troubleshoot broken Excel formulas. He uses an engineering example, but the tips are useful for any formulas.

- If you’re looking for a new adventure in Excel, the latest Office 365 Developer Podcast covers the basics of getting started with Office 365 Development. The “Getting Started” section starts at about the 22 minute mark, and the page has many links to resource material that you can use. My favourite link — Modern JavaScript for Ancient Web Developers.
- On Daily Dose of Excel blog, Dick Kusleika posted a few questions that he used to test a job applicant’s Excel skills. On a similar topic, Nick Larsen has great advice on how developers can talk about themselves in interviews.
- Mike Girvin (ExcelIsFun) has a free two-hour video course, Excel for Accountants. It starts with some basics, and covers Pivot Tables, Power Query, functions, and more. Download the workbook to follow along, and go at your own pace. There is a list of topics, and times where they start in the video.

- Andrew Engwirda has updated his Excel VBA tools, to add a few more features. It’s an amazing collection of tools, at a surprisingly low price.
- Alberto Ferrari and Marco Russo just published their new book – Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI and Power Pivot for Excel. Who is the book for? “If you are curious about what data modeling is and why it is a useful skill, then this is the book for you.”

- After all that heavy reading, take a break and read the weekly collection of Excel tweets, to see what people are saying about our favourite spreadsheet. For example, “I try to break Microsoft Excel at least once a day or I feel like I wasn’t working hard enough”

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]]>The post Excel Price Lookup for Date and Product Name appeared first on Contextures Blog.

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Someone asked that question on my Contextures blog last week, on my post that shows how to find the latest price for a specific product in Excel.

Before we tackle the new problem, here is the example from that old post, where we wanted the **LATEST** price. The screen shot below shows a lookup table, with product prices and dates.

In that example, I used two formulas:

- MAX and IF (array-entered with Ctrl+Shift+Enter) to find the latest date for a product

=MAX(IF($A$2:$A$9=A12,$B$2:$B$9)) - Then, SUMIFS to find the product’s price on that date.

**=SUMIFS($C$2:$C$9,$A$2:$A$9,A12,$B$2:$B$9,B12)**

Here’s the result of a lookup for Pens, in that example. The formula ignores all the earlier prices for Pens, and returns the latest one.

The new question had a different twist – there was an on-going list of invoices, and it needed a lookup formula to find the product price **based on the invoice date**.

In the screen shot below, the invoice list is at the left, and the product pricing lookup is on the right.

- For the “BBB” sale on Jan. 10th, we need the Jan 8th price from the lookup table.
- The Mar 15h sale of BBB needs the Mar 15th price.

In my Excel newsletter this week, I posted my solution, and asked if anyone had another way to get the correct prices.

My formula was a long, complicated, array-entered monstrosity. I figured someone could find a simpler solution. Brace yourself – here it is:

**=INDEX(Products[Price], SMALL(IF(Products[Item]=[@Item], IF(Products[Pdate]<=[@Date], ROW(Products[Pdate]) – ROW(Products[[#Headers],[Pdate]]))), COUNTIFS(Products[Item],[@Item],Products[Pdate], “<=”&[@Date])))**

It works, but it’s very difficult to read and understand. Also, array formulas break easily, if someone presses Enter, instead of Ctrl+Shift+Enter

Fortunately, some smart and creative people read my newsletter, and they sent me their solutions.

Van V and Tim O both suggested using VLOOKUP. You’ll need to add a column at the left of the pricing table, with a formula to combine the product name and date.

It’s not necessary, but I added an underscore between the name and date, as a separator.

**= [@Item] & “_” & [@Pdate]**

Next, sort the price list by product (item) and date – this is crucial to making this method work.

Then, in the Invoice list, use a VLOOKUP formula with an approximate match, to get the correct price.

**=VLOOKUP([@Item] & “_” & [@Date], Products,4,TRUE)**

I left my original formula in column E, for comparison, and add the VLOOKUP in column F.

The VLOOKUP worked perfectly, so it’s a good option, if:

- you can add a column to the pricing table,
- and remember to sort it by Item and Date.

Thanks to Van and Tim for sending their VLOOKUP solutions.

Paul B and Tim O sent their solutions too, and they both used INDEX and MATCH. The setup is similar to the VLOOKUP solution:

- add a column to the pricing table, to combine the item and date. However, it doesn’t need to be on the left – it can be anywhere in the table.
- pricing table must be sorted by item name and date (Tim suggested a macro to do that, so it’s easier).

Here is the formula for the invoice table, to pull the correct price from the pricing table:

**=INDEX(ProductsLU[Price], MATCH([@Item] &[@Date], Products[ItemDate],1))**

Thanks to David P and Leonid K, who also sent formulas, and these **didn’t require any changes to the pricing table**. All three of their formulas are better than the one that I created – shorter and easier to read.

1) David’s first formula uses LOOKUP:

**=LOOKUP(1,1/FREQUENCY(0,1/(1+(Products[Item]=[@Item])*(Products[Pdate]<=[@Date])*Products[Pdate])),Products[Price])**

2) David’s second formula uses ROUND, and is **array-entered** (Ctrl++Shift+Enter):

**=ROUND(MOD(MAX( IF( (Products[Item]=[@Item])* (Products[Pdate]<=[@Date]), Products[Pdate] + Products[Price]/1000000)), 1)* 1000000,5)**

3) Leonid’s formula is an INDEX/MATCH formula, also **array-entered**:

**=INDEX(Products[Price],MATCH(1,1/((Invoice[@Item]=Products[Item])*(Products[Pdate]<=Invoice[@Date])*Products[Pdate])))**

With so many formula options, which one would you choose for your workbook?

- The VLOOKUP and first INDEX/MATCH formulas are easiest to understand. However, they require changes and maintenance to the pricing table.
- The All-In-One formulas are a bit more complicated, but don’t require any changes to the pricing table
- My original formula works, but it’s the longest, and most complicated. I’m fond of it though, after all the deep thought that went into it!

A couple of people asked how my original formula works, so here is a description of the key pieces.

- The INDEX function will return a specific item in an array (range of cells), and the SMALL function tells it which item to return (row number in the range).
- The SMALL function returns the nth smallest number in an array , and COUNTIFS calculates that “n”.
- The ROW function returns the worksheet row number for each matching item. To get the row within the pricing list, we subtract the row number for the pricing list header.
- To see the row numbers that the SMALL function can choose from:
- In cell E6, select the “array” part of the SMALL function in the formula bar, and press F9
- You will see this result: SMALL({
**FALSE;2;3;FALSE;FALSE;6;FALSE;FALSE**} - For items that match the criteria, the numbers show their positions in the price lookup table. Items that don’t match show as FALSE.

- The COUNTIFS calculates how many prices in the table have the same item, and a price date on or before the invoice date. NOTE: For this to work, the pricing table must be sorted by date
- To see the COUNTIFS result:
- With cell E6 still selected, in the formula bar, select the COUNTIFS part of the formula, and press F9
- The result is 3
- =INDEX(Products[Price],SMALL({FALSE;2;3;FALSE;FALSE;6;FALSE;FALSE},
**3**)) - The 3rd smallest number in the array is 6, so the price from the 6
^{th}row is returned by the INDEX function.

To get the workbook, with my original solution, and the better alternatives, go to the Sample Excel Files page on my Contextures website.

In the Functions section, look for **FN0049 – Product Price Based on Date**. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

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]]>The post 7 Ways to Round in Excel appeared first on Contextures Blog.

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Yes, it certainly looks wrong, but sometimes 2+2 = 5 in Excel.

Or, you could make things even more confusing, and show that 2+3=4.

You might be able to guess why those totals look wrong. Even a simple spreadsheet like this one can have things going on below the surface.

The problem with “incorrect” totals can occur if you use number formatting to make the numbers look rounded. Excel hides the decimals, but they’re still stored as part of the number.

In the first example, the numbers look like 2+2, but the actual numbers are 2.3 and 2.3, which add up to 4.6.

In the second example, the actual numbers are 1.54 and 2.54, which add up to 4.08.

So, be careful if you’re using number formatting that hides the decimals, or someone might question the accuracy of your spreadsheet!

In some cases, you might want to use a function to round the numbers, instead of just hiding the decimals.

To help you get started, I’ve made this short slide show that shows 7 ways to round in Excel.

It shows number formatting, and the problem it can cause.

There are also rounding examples that use the Excel functions ROUND, ROUNDDOWN, ROUNDUP, FLOOR, and CEILING.

To see the details for the rounding examples in the slide show, go to the Excel Rounding Functions page on my Contextures website. There are workbooks to download too, so you can follow the examples.

It also has an MROUND example, and looks at the variations for the FLOOR and CEILING functions.

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Someone emailed to ask how they could ignore one criterion in a SUMIFS formula, if that cell is empty. Here is the original formula:

**=SUMIFS(D$2:D2,B$2:B2,B2,C$2:C2,C2)**

It sums all the values in column D, starting in row 2, and down to the current row, where:

- values in column B match B in the the current row,
- and values in column C match C in the the current row

See more SUMIFS examples on the Sum Cells page of my Contextures website.

How can we change the formula, so it ignores the criterion for C, if the current row has an empty cell in column C?

First, I set up a sample sheet, where I could do a bit of experimenting, and entered the original formula in column E

It’s interesting that SUMIFS returns a zero if there is an empty cell in column C.

For my first solution, I tried using an empty string as the criterion, if C was empty.

=SUMIFS(D$2:D2,B$2:B2,B2,C$2:C2,**IF(C2="","",C2))**

That created totals in the rows with blank cells, but it only added up the other blanks.

Next, I tried using an asterisk wildcard as the criterion, if C was empty.

=SUMIFS(D$2:D2,B$2:B2,B2,C$2:C2,**IF(C2="","*",C2))**

That created totals in the rows with blank cells, but it didn’t include the values from blank cells. Apparently the wildcard doesn’t recognize those.

Finally, I decided to repeat the first criteria range and its criterion, if C was empty:

=SUMIFS(D$2:D2,B$2:B2,B2, **IF(C2="",B$2:B2,C$2:C2), IF(C2="",B2,C2))**

And that worked! As you can see in the screen shot below, it summed all the previous items that met the column B criterion, and also included the rows where C is empty.

Well, that was fun – even if it’s not artsy enough to post on Instagram!

There are probably other ways to solve this SUMIFS problem, so if you’d use something different, let me know in the comments.

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In Microsoft’s Excel World Champ data visualization contest, there were 14 country finalists. Each finalist submitted a data visualization file, and everyone was invited to vote for their favourites. You can see the 14 submissions on the Tech Community blog.

The voting ended yesterday, and they announced the winner and the two runners up today. I don’t see names or countries listed with the submissions, but here’s a screen shot of the one with the most votes. Maybe that’s the overall winner, but other factors were included too, I think.

I wasn’t familiar with the contest winner — Ghazanfar Abidi, from Canada – but Google helped me find his website.

And that’s where I saw his latest blog post, where he showed a problem with pivot table fill colour. I’d never noticed this problem before.

Here are the steps to recreate the problem:

- Use the Ribbon command to add fill colour to a pivot table cell
- Select another cell in the pivot table, and press F4 (or Ctrl+Y) to repeat that command. In the screen shot below, cells D5 and A8 were coloured with the F4 shortcut
- Refresh the pivot table

Surprise! The cells that were formatted with the Ribbon command are still coloured, but the cell where I used the shortcut lost their fill colour!

I wanted to see if other types of cell formatting disappeared to, so I applied bold, italic, underline, font colour and font size:

- with the Ribbon commands in column C
- with F4 in column D
- with the Format Painter in column E – I copied the “F4” formatting from column D

Then, I refreshed the pivot table, and the only formatting that disappeared was the fill colour in cell D5, where the F4 shortcut had been used.

Surprisingly, the fill colour was still in E5, even though it was a copy of the D5 formatting.

So, the moral of the story, if there is one, is to use the Fill Colour or Format Painter Ribbon commands to apply fill colour, if you’re formatting a pivot table cell.

Don’t use the keyboard shortcuts F4 or Ctrl+Y to apply colour to a pivot table cell.

P.S. I added the Repeat command to the Ribbon, and tested that – the fill colour didn’t stick with that method either.

Or, if you like practical jokes, you can use the awesome revenge formatting trick that Ghazanfar Abidi showed in his blog post. But you’ll have to figure out how he did it!

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]]>The post Combine VLOOKUP and MATCH for Flexible Formula appeared first on Contextures Blog.

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There are a couple of key benefits when you combine VLOOKUP and MATCH:

- It makes the formula flexible – use one formula to pull data from different columns in the lookup table.
- It can prevent problems if new columns are added in the lookup table, or if the lookup columns are rearranged.

This video shows how to combine VLOOKUP and MATCH, and there is another example, below the video.

In this example, we’ll use a VLOOKUP formula to get the order details from a lookup table, based on the order ID number. Here’s the lookup table, which is named tblOrders.

To get the details for a specific order, you could create 3 VLOOKUP formulas, with a different column number typed in each formula:

- Region: =VLOOKUP($B6,tblOrdersALL,
**2**,0) - OrderDate: =VLOOKUP($B6,tblOrdersALL,
**3**,0) - OrderAmt: =VLOOKUP($B6,tblOrdersALL,
**4**,0)

That works, but it’s not very efficient — you have 3 formulas to maintain, instead of just 1 formula. And nobody has time for that!

Instead of figuring out which column the data is in, and then typing that column number in the VLOOKUP formula, let the MATCH function do the work for you. The MATCH function finds the position of an item in a list, and returns that position number.

For example, if the MATCH function looks for “Region”, in the lookup table heading cells, the result is 2.

**=MATCH(C5,Orders_ALL!$A$1:$D$1,0)**

Cell C5 has the heading “Region”, and that is a relative reference. Later, if the formula is copied to the right, it will refer to the headings in D5 and E5.

To add the MATCH function to the VLOOKUP formula, just replace the typed column number

**=VLOOKUP($B6,tblOrdersALL,2,0) **

with the MATCH formula:

**=VLOOKUP($B6,tblOrdersALL,MATCH(C5,Orders_ALL!$A$1:$D$1,0),0) **

Now, instead of needing a different formula in each column, you can copy the formula across, and use the same formula in all the columns. In each column, the MATCH function’s first argument (C5) will change, and refer to the heading cell in that column.

For this technique to work correctly, the headings on the VLOOKUP sheet have match the lookup table headings exactly.

- In my sample file, the VLOOKUP heading cells are linked to the lookup table heading cells.
- If you can’t use links, copy and paste the headings from the lookup table, to be sure they’re exactly the same.

Go to the VLOOKUP page on my Contextures website, to get the sample workbook. In the Download section on that page, click the link to Sample File #1.

The zipped file is in xlsx format, and it does not contain any macros.

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]]>The post Take the Excel Name Fix Challenge appeared first on Contextures Blog.

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Here the challenge that I posted in the newsletter —

If people enter their names in a sign-up form, you might end up with a mixture of upper and lower case letters. You can see an example in the screen shot below.

This week’s challenge is to clean up that list. Using Excel formulas, make these changes to the list:

- Show the corrected name in column B, with only the first letter of each name in upper case. For example, Fred Jones instead of FRED JONES.
- Add an X in column C, to mark the names that were fixed.
- In cell E1, show the number of names that were fixed.

For inspiration, there are videos and links on my Functions page.

Several people sent their solutions to me:

- a few said the problem was very easy to solve
- others had a bit of trouble, and had to do some research to find a function that would solve the problem.
- a couple knew the simple ways to fix the problem, and looked for different formula solutions

There were a couple of unexpected twists too:

- one person noticed an extra space in a name, and wanted to fix that too
- another person asked if there was a way to show the number of changes in each name

I compiled the solutions into the Excel Name Fix Solutions workbook.

To take the challenge, download the completed Name Case Solution workbook. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

- The problem is on the
**NameList**sheet. - Don’t look at the other sheets, until you’re ready to see the solutions to this challenge.

Let me know if you come up with any other formulas that solve the problem. And don’t read the comments below, if you don’t want to see a solution!

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