Overview

My publication on this obscure to the many yet a useful and powerful feature of Excel shows how array formulas can help in financial analysis.

It starts with an overview of what array formulas are and how they are different from normal formulas. I am bringing in many useful tips about arrays: understanding vertical and horizontal arrays, generating arrays of consecutive integers, performing mathematical operations on arrays, using the F9 key to visualize arrays and debug formulas.

There is a distinction between single-cell and multi-cell array formulas. Multi-cell arrays are not so widely used in financial modeling but a professional analyst needs to be aware of such formulas.

‘Classic’ array formulas are committed to cell with a combination of keys Ctrl+Shift+Enter (CSE). Yet in many cases array formulas can be redesigned to work with a simple Enter. There are functions which can deal with arrays natively but there are also functions which will always require CSE or will never handle arrays.

Data tables are a special case of array formulas. I am giving an overview of data tables and if you want to learn more I invite you to read my publications dedicated to data tables.

The publication includes a number of practical examples using array formulas:

  • calculating months inventory outstanding
  • calculating expected return of a portfolio containing many securities under several performance assumptions
  • extending or shortening a ramp-up plan
  • calculating XIRR with zero cash flow periods in the beginning
  • working with dates
  • transforming two-dimensional data
  • and many else

In the end I am giving miscellaneous tips concerning array formulas which you might not have heard of.

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