יום שלישי, 25 באוקטובר 2022

The Ultimate solution to cleaning unwanted characters



The ultimate Solution to cleaning Data


The Ultimate Solution!
No need for Power Query!!!

This problem “pops up” in myriad Excel forums & groups:

How do I “clean” my data?

How do I remove all non-printable characters from a cell?

Excel’s help (the TRIM & CLEAN functions) is very limited.
It cannot eliminate all those "hidden" characters.

The perfect (and dynamic) solution is offered here, in a formula that I’ve developed, as can be seen in the attached pictures.

The formula is quite complex and involves 10(!) Excel functions.

                                    Participating Functions

The solution enables us to choose (by parameters) which characters we want to see in the “clean” result:
For example: digits (ASCII 48-57),
lower case English (ASCII 65-90),
upper case English (ASCII 97-122) etc..
Other subsets of the ASCII character set might change according to locale. For example, in a Hebrew UI the Hebrew alphabet resides in ASCII 224-250.

                             The Parameters Table


The parameters table enables you to define the groups of characters (subsets of the whole ASCII character set) that you want in the "clean" cells.

1.    Each category's value starts at the first value of that category. For example, the digits category's is 48, since the digits are ASCII codes: 48-57.

2.    By typing “y” next to the desired subset, in column D, any group of characters: digits, English (lower), English (upper) etc. or any combination of these groups/subsets – is selected for the output result. Thus, you can dynamically control which subset/s will appear in the "clean" cells, without "tampering with" the formula. A category whose switch is "turned off" (i.e., its value is not "y") – will be left outside of the "clean" cells.

Two defined names (in the name manager) refer to the groups and the parameters.

Values (i.e. groups/subsets) refer to cells C3:D11
Switches (i.e. parameters) refer to cells D3:D11 

as can be seen in the picture:




You are free, of course, to add any subset you desire. For example: Special characters (ASCII 33-47): ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . /

In my example, cells A27:A33 are the cells to be cleaned.
I chose to display only digits and English letters (both uppercase and lowercase) in the "clean" cells.

Cells B27:B33 hold the “clean” data, which (according to the parameters) have only digits and English letters (both uppercase and lowercase), as explained above.

The somewhat long formula 😊 is displayed here and refers to cell B27 (the "clean" result of cell A27).



Double-click the right lower corner of cell B27, to "spi the formula to the rest of the range (B28:B33)

And here's the final result:

The cells before (A27:A33) and after (B27:B33) cleaning


That’s all.

It is desirable and even recommended to try at home.



יום שני, 24 באוקטובר 2022

TOCOL instead of...FILTER????


TOCOL instead of…FILTER???


This is a new trick I invented.

Suppose you have 2 lists and you want to extract only the matching values in these lists:

                                                Pic 1: 2 lists to compare

So, the most obvious solution would be using the FILTER function:

Pic 2: Using the FILTER function to display only matching values


But I invented a "cool" trick with the TOCOL function.
First we write a simple IF formula, where the FALSE is an invalid value (NA), which Excel interprets as an error:

          Pic 3: the IF function returns an error when there's no match

Now, what's left for us to do is to "wrap" the IF with the TOCOL function, where the second argument to the TOCOL function
is 2: ignore errors.

And the final result:

Pic 4: wrapping the IF function with TOCOL yields the desired solution

Simple, isn't it?


יום שבת, 15 באוקטובר 2022

Calculations on non-contiguous cells


Calculations on non-contiguous cells


We are used to do calculations in Excel on an array of cells, where the cells are contiguous.
But what if we want to do some operations on non-adjacent cells?

Take, for example, this scenario:

We want to find the average of all positive numbers in these cells, in the picture:

                             Pic 1: Non-contiguous cells



We solved the problem in two easy steps:

Step 1:
We define the whole range surrounding the cells as a named range:

The named range is NUM and it refers to the range A1:L4

Pic 2: The Named Range

Step 2:

The formula in D7 will yield the desired result.


This solution is dynamic in the sense that you can, of course, add numbers to the defined range, erase numbers or modify them.
But you don't need to touch the formula!

Pic 3: one formula that doesn't change when the data change