The Best Guide to Understand Excel Advanced Functions

Advanced Excel Functions refers to the features and functions of Microsoft Excel, which helps the user to perform complex calculations, perform data analysis, and much more. In this article, you will learn some of the most commonly used advanced functions in Excel.

We will be exploring the following topics in this Advanced Excel tutorial article:

  • Goal seek
  • What-If analysis with solver
  • Pivot tables
  • If-else
  • If-error
  • Excel VBA
  • Index and Match
  • Offset Function

Goal Seek

Goal Seek is a function in-built in Advanced Excel Functions that allows you to get the desired output by changing the assumptions. The process is dependent on the trial and error method to achieve the desired result. 

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Let’s look at an example to understand it better.

Example

In this example, we aim to find what will be the rate of interest if the person wants to pay 

$5000 per month to settle the loan amount.

PMT function is used when you want to calculate the monthly payment you need to pay to settle the loan amount.

Let’s go through this problem in steps to see how we can calculate the interest rate that will settle a loan of $400,000 by $5,000 a month payment.

  • PMT formula should now be entered in the cell that is the Payment cell adjacent. Currently, there is no value in the rate of interest cell, Excel gives us the payment of $3,333.33 because it assumes the rate of interest to be 0%. Ignore it.

GS1

  • Go to Data > What - If Analysis > Goal Seek

point 2

  • Set the monthly payment to -5,000. The deduction in amount signifies the negative value.

    Set rate of interest as the changing cell.

GS2

  • Click OK. You will see the goal seek function automatically gives the interest rate that is required to pay the loan amount. 

GS3

Go to Home > Number and change the value to Percentage.

ex2-4

Your outcome will look like below:

GS4

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What-If Analysis with Solver

What-If Analysis is the method of changing the values to try out different scenarios for formulas in Advanced excel.

Several different sets of values can be used in one or multiple of these Advanced excel formulas to explore the different results.

A solver is ideal for what-if analysis. It is an add-in program in Microsoft Excel and is helpful on many levels. The feature can be used to identify an optimal value for a formula in the cell known as the objective cell. Some constraints or limits are however applicable on other formula cell values on a worksheet. 

Solver works with decision variables which are a group of cells used in computing the formulas in the objective and constraint cells. The solver adjusts the value of decision variable cells to work on the limits on constraint cells. This process aids in determining the desired result for the objective cell.

Activating Solver Add-in

  • On the File tab, click Options.
  • Go to Add-ins, select Solver Add-in, and click on the Go button.

solver1

  • Check Solver Add-in and click OK.

solver2

  •  In the Data tab, in the Analyze group, you can see the Solver option is added.

solver3-data-analysi

How to Use Solver in Excel

In this example, we will try to find the solution for a simple optimization problem.

Problem: Suppose you are the business owner and you want your income to be $8000.

Goal: Calculate the units to be sold and price per unit to achieve the target.

For example, we have created the following model:

SOLVER1

  • On the Data tab, in the Analysis group, click the Solver button.
  • In the set objective, select the income cell and set its value to $8000.
  • To Change the variable cell, select the C5, C6, and C10 cells.

/solver2.

  • Click Solve. 

Your data model will change according to the conditions.

solver3

If-Else

IF function is used to test the condition and return a value if the condition is indeed true and a predetermined different value if it turns out to be false.

Syntax: =IF(test, true result, false result)

if1

If-Error

The Excel IFERROR function returns an alternative result when a formula generates an error and an expected result when no error is detected. 

Syntax: =IFERROR (value, value_if_error)

For example, Excel returns a divide by zero error when a formula tries to divide a number by 0.

/iferror1

By using the IFERROR function, you can add a message if the formula evaluates to an error.

IFERROR2

Pivot Tables

A Pivot table is essentially an Excel data summarization tool that enables the user to report and explore trends based on your information precisely within a short period. 

You can section-wise summary using pivot table’s drag and drop feature and choosing proper functions within.

Sample Data

We will use the sample data containing 41 records with five fields of information on the buyer information. This data is perfect for understanding the pivot table.

pivot1

Insert Pivot Tables

To insert a pivot table in your sheet, follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Click on any cell in a data set.
  • On the Insert tab, in the Tables group, click PivotTable.

/insert-pivotTables

A dialog box will appear. Excel will auto-select your dataset. It will also create a new worksheet for your pivot table.

  • Click Ok. Then, it will create a pivot table worksheet.

pivot2

Drag Fields

To get the total items bought by each buyer, drag the following fields to the following areas.

  • Buyer field to Rows area.
  • Items field to Values area.

/pivot4

Excel VBA

VBA stands for Visual Basic Analysis. Excel VBA is Microsoft’s event driven programming language for Office applications. Macros are what most people who write VBA code use.

Enable Developer Option in Excel

The Developer tab is hidden by default, on the ribbon, and in order to customize the ribbon, following steps mentioned below need to be followed:

  • Right-click anywhere on the ribbon, and subsequently click on the Customize the Ribbon option.

-ExcelMacro

  • Go to Customize the Ribbon and select the Developer checkbox.

developer2

VBA Editor Interface

You can open the VBA interface by using the ALT + F11 keyboard shortcut, or you can go to the Developer tab and click on Visual Basic.

vba-editor

Creating a Command Button and Assign a Macro the Command Button

After enabling the developer tab and having familiarized yourself with the VBA editor, let’s begin creating a macro with the help of the command button.

For placing a command button on the worksheet you are working with, you will need to follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Go the Developer tab > Insert > ActiveX Controls > Command button.

record-macros-1

  • Drag the command button on your worksheet.

record-macros-2

To assign a macro to the command button, follow these steps:

  • Right-click on the command buttons and select View Code. 

record-macros-3

  • Add the following lines of code shown below.

vba1

  • Close the VBA editor and click on the command button on the worksheet. Make sure to deselect the design mode.

vba2

Index and Match

This is an Advanced Excel function. MATCH function is designed to return the position of a value in a specified range, while the INDEX function returns a specific value present in a uni-dimensional range.

match2

The MATCH function returns the position of the ID you are looking for. The INDEX function will return the value of the salary corresponding to the position.

Offset Function

The OFFSET function returns a reference to a range of cells  that is a specified number of rows and columns from a cell or range of cells.

Syntax: OFFSET(reference, rows, cols, [height], [width])

Example:

Consider the following data: 

offset1

 To reference C4 starting at A1,  reference is A1, rows is 3 and cols is 2:

offset2

SUM Function With OFFSET

In this example we have a monthly sales data of two years. The goal is to find the sum of sales for a specific month.

The OFFSET function returns a 1x2 range, 8 rows below cell A2, and 1 column right of cell A2. The SUM function then calculates the sum of this range.

offset1

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Conclusion

In this article, you have learned some advanced excel functions. We have discussed several functions including pivot tables, goal seek, and what-if along with solver.

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Do you have any questions for us? Feel free to ask them in the comments section of “Advanced Excel Tutorial”, and our experts will promptly answer them for you! 

About the Author

Aryan GuptaAryan Gupta

Aryan is a tech enthusiast who likes to stay updated about trending technologies of today. He is passionate about all things technology, a keen researcher, and writes to inspire. Aside from technology, he is an active football player and a keen enthusiast of the game.

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