Comparing Lists of Values in Excel using Array Formulas Excel 2010

Comparing List of Values – Different Scenarios

There are 2 scenarios when we compare lists of values.

  1. Comparing a list of values with a single value (or condition)
  2. Comparing a list of values against another list (array comparison)

Comparing a list of values with a single value (or condition):

This is the most common and easiest comparison. Examples of this are – count of all values > 20, sum of values between 5 and 23, count of employees in purchasing department etc.

We have built in formulas in Excel to help us do this easily.

Formula What it does?
COUNTIF Counts all the values in a range that meet a criteria.
Example: COUNTIF(A1:A10,”>10″)
Count of all values in A1:A10 more than 10Help
SUMIF Sums all the values in a range that meet a criteria
Example: SUMIF(A1:A10,”>10″,B1:B10)
Sum of all values in B1:B10 where corresponding value in A1:A10 is more than 10Help
COUNTIFS* Counts all the values in a range that meet multiple criterion
Example: COUNTIFS(employees, “a*”,departments, “Purchasing”)
Counts the number of employees in Purchasing department whose name starts with letter a.Help
SUMIFS* Sums all the values in a range that meet multiple criterion
Example: SUMIFS(salaries, employees, “a*”,departments, “Purchasing”)
Sums up the salary of employees in Purchasing department whose name starts with letter a.Help
SUMPRODUCT Gives the sum of product of various lists. This formulas is very robust and can be used to compare lists and check against multiple conditions
Example: SUMPRODUCT(salaries, departments=”Purchasing”, join_date>datevalue(“1-May-2009″),join_date<=datevalue(“1-May-2011″))
Sums up the salary of employees in Purchasing department who joined between 1-May-2009 and 1-May-2011.Help
AVERAGEIF* Average of all the values in a range that meet a criteria
Example: AVERAGEIF(A1:A10,”>10″,B1:B10)
Average of all values in B1:B10 where corresponding value in A1:A10 is more than 10
AVERAGEIFS* Average of all the values in a range that meet multiple criteria
Example: AVERAGEIFS(salaries, employees, “a*”,departments, “Purchasing”)
Average salary of employees in Purchasing department whose name starts with letter a.

* these formulas do not work in Excel 2003 or earlier versions.

Comparing a list of values with another list (array compare):

This is where it gets interesting. You have 2 lists of values, like in our last week’s problem. And you want to calculate some value, for eg. Sum of all donations where Amount Donated < Amount Pledged.
How do you go about this?

Well, this is where we use Array Formulas.

In the above case, assuming we have amount donated in lstGiven and amount pledged in lstPledged,

We can use the array formula =SUM((lstGiven)*(lstGiven<lstPledged)) to find the sum of all donations such that amount donated is less than amount pledged.
Note: You must press CTRL+SHIFT+Enter to get this formula work

How does this formula work?

  1. The formula checks for lstGiven < lstPledged and returns a bunch of TRUE, FALSE values.
  2. When you multiply this with lstGiven, Excel would convert TRUE, FALSE to 1 and 0 and then multiply.
  3. Since 0 multiplied by anything would 0, we end up with a bunch of donation values where donated amount is less than pledged amount.
  4. Once all the values are there, the SUM would just add them up.

More examples & Illustration:

Look at below image to understand how we can compare lists of values in Excel using Array formulas.

Array Formulas to Compare Lists in Excel - Examples

Solution to Donation Summary Calculation Problem:

I have made a video explaining how you can solve the last week’s homework. See it below or on our Youtube Channel.

Download the Excel Workbook for this.

Click here to download the Workbook with partial solution as shown in the video.

Click here to download the solution workbook and play with the formulas to learn more.

Share your tips on Array Formulas

Array formulas are quite powerful and robust. I use them all the time and love to learn more. So please share your tips and ideas using comments. Go!

from: http://chandoo.org/wp/2011/06/14/compare-lists-array-formula/

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