=IF(Excel=RealLife Actions, yes, no)

Excel is a very powerful tool whether you are a student or a professional. After years of studies you may have come across formulas, pivot tables and pie charts.  While gaining experience, you have discovered the pain of digging into long lists of data records, and the joy of actually making sense out of it. What if, I thought, this tool can explain much more than numbers or text strings? What if it could go beyond manipulating data, and even explain some very simple action in our real life, or be able to “read” situations?

 It happens that I am using Excel quite a lot lately, hence I wrote this article.

=TRUE(I wrote this article).

From famous batman cartoon in the sixties. Check the intro, it will explain the picture.
From famous batman cartoon in the sixties. Check the intro, it will explain the picture.

Disclaimer: many of the following excel formulas are generated with some creativity freedom, for the real syntax of these refer to Excel support. No, unfortunately Batman does not appear when you get a full screen of #N/A errors. Yes, if you get this screen, things are going very wrong.

Sad but true situation

It also happens that I make quite absurd correlations about the most disparate things. Such as:

=CORREL(times I see any superfit person work out video : times I actually go to gym).

Some part of me still hangs on to the hope that the two things are somehow related.


Unhealthy but understandable situation

You have been studying for long time in the library and suddenly you have a crave for some nice chips, so you go to the supermarket to get yourself a nice big pack. You do not really have much time so first, you go ask an attendant where the chips are.

=MATCH(chips, array of supermarket aisles, exact match)

The attendant gives back aisle number 3. Once there, you notice that there are quite some choices, but you know what you want, and quickly start to scan those shelves with your hungry eyes.

=HLOOKUP(Lays, shelves of aisle 3, row 1)

=HLOOKUP(Lays, shelves of aisle 3, row 2)

And you keep going until you find it!


Self-preservation situation

Are you checking some calories before the Christmas Food Pandemonium? No problem, what you would normally do is to collect different products and compare the labels for less sugar, calories or the like.

=SEARCH(Calories; Label Text)

=MIN(cookie type 1, cookie type 2, cookie type 3)


Awkward situation

Something different, I believe that every one of us has at least one friend that is a pro in making random comments in very inappropriate situations. Perhaps you are that friend to somebody. I feel quite confident imagining this:

=RANDBETWEEN(most recent awkward comment, the first awkward comment that I can remember).

= “Your mother smells nice”

This comment would surely open an array of confused thoughts.

Note: This formula actually only works with integer numbers, but I like to think that in our brain such rule does not apply.

Excel can be daunting at times, and gives a discouraging feeling when things do not work out as written in your input formula. If that happens remember that excel is as powerful as you want it to be (sure, with some limitations), so keep trying. The purpose of this article is to show that no matter how serious of rigid a tool may look like, there is always room for thinking out-of-the-box.

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