Thursday, November 03, 2005

Today I Became Queen of VLOOKUP

Excel makes me a bit insane. I mentioned somewhere that I do not have a mind for numbers, formulas, etc. I did do rather well in the first half of Geometry where you learn theorems - which consist of words and are almost poetic. And you get to draw angles, triangles and circles and stuff with a protractor and compass- which is almost creative art. But second half was a lot of having me try and figure out what something times X over Y equals and I was doomed.

Do you remember the feminist outrage over that Barbie that said, "Math is Hard"? I understand what they were saying but deep down, I was with Barbie on that one.

I was first introduced to the concept of a spreadsheet in a DOS version of Lotus123. So I was trying to learn computers and math all at the same time, while also trying to keep my job for which I was slightly under-qualified. When we finally went to Windows I was sooooo happy. Much nicer to look at and easier to use. I am also grateful it was before the time of the irritating paperclip "helper". I would have quit rather than put up with that thing.

Anyway, I was ok with the basic stuff - entering and adding up columns, doing some percentages, easy stuff. I eventually figured out simple formulas, commands and shortcuts. I've never had to do much sophisitcated spreadsheet stuff, anyway.

Until lately. Recently, I've had to create a type of chart that compares data along a number of variables - so you use a thing called a pivot table. Fortunately Excel has a wizard that makes it pretty easy. I do well with pivot tables now. However, a while back I needed to get data assembled in a different way and my boss said "use VLOOKUP" and I said "huh?" So he showed me how to do this. I used the table he created and pretty much forgot about how he did it.

Like I said, this was a while back. This week I needed to do the same thing again but with new data. I am proud to say that by the use of clever forensic techniques I learned from watching CSI re-runs, I've uncovered how my boss accomplished the arcane steps to vlooking uping and I created an updated duplicate of my bosses chart with the new data, almost all by myself. There was this one thing I had to get help with, but it was a small thing. And now, I'm the Queen of VLOOKUP. I'm going to try it out on other data tomorrow. Just because I can.

1 comment:

Thumper said...

Math IS hard! Barbie was sooooo right on that one!

:::head explodes at the idea of spreadsheets and math and angles and chit:::