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Excel/using lookup with a table of formulas


Its been a long, long time since I came across one of your posts. I'm guessing 12-15 years.  Don't know how I have missed them, as I used to see them all the time.

Anyway, here's the question.  Is there a formula I can use to reference a table of formulas vs building one hell of a nested if.  I have tried indirect without success.  I prefer formulas over vba, please.

The details.
I download my bank statement and need to, based on the first 5 or whatever characters, interact with the data differently.

So, for example.

From download

A1: CHECK #10683.................Formula in B1
A2: AMERICAN EXPRESS 4601048973...Formula in B2
A3: BANKCARD-SANDY SPRIN1288......Formula in B3

I need to use about 10 different formulas based on the first 5 chars.

So "Check" would return formula right(A1,5) and results would 10683
and "AMERI" would return formula left(a2, 8) or 01048973
and "BANKC" would return formula left(a3, 9) or SPRIN1288

I am cleaning the data based on my criteria so I can work with other tables.



as an example


would return which entry in the list/Array, {"Check","AMERI","BANKC"} is found in cell A1 using the left five characters.

This could feed the choose function which takes an integer as the first argument and then the remainder of its arguments are expressions it will execute based on the first argument. the integer specifies which of the following argument to execute starting with 1.  

so in your example


Now I assumed you wanted to process A1 in different ways based on the value in A1.  

However you cited A1, A2 and A3 in your example.  If that is infact the case, then you could adjust the formulas in argument 2, 3, and 4 to reflect whatever formula you need to execute based on what is in cell A1.  

You would just expand the choose function to handle 10 conditions.  Also, it the entry being checked could fail to match a value in you list you would need to use an iferror function to handle the error if that is appropriate.

Tom Ogilvy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Tom.  The choose function is a definitely a better option to me from a readability standpoint and with only 10 choices, will suffice nicely.

BUT, suppose I had 150 variables, a formula in itself would be very unruly.  

So that being said, without VBA, would it be possible to build a table of formulas and return and evaluate the formula?  Is it even possible to return a formula and evaluate it.

Since you provided a solution, just point me to other places where I might research this.

Thanks Again,


This appears to be a duplicate question which I answered back on 21 Aug.  Here is the answer I gave then:


Microsoft has begun slipstreaming in improvements to excel so I can't say I am up to date on the latest functions they have added - but there never has been a function that would do what you describe.  Indirect is designed to convert a string into an actual cell reference.  It isn't designed to take a string and evaluate it as a formula.  

Laurant Longre had an addin (morefunc) that had an evaluate function that could do what you describe.  But he has dropped out of sight many years ago although you might be able to locate a copy of his addin  (also, I don't know what compatibility with current versions of excel  his addin has).  

So sorry, but my basic answer is NO there is no built in support for this.  

that said, I have put in some URLs that describe using the Excel 4 Macro function Evaluate.  
If you absolutely had to have this capability, you might want to pursue this method

Tom Ogilvy  
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Tom Ogilvy


Selected as an Excel MVP by Microsoft since 1999. Answering Excel questions in Allexperts since its inception in 2001. Able to answer questions on almost all aspects of Excel's internal capabilities. If seeking a VBA solution, please specify that in your question itself so I give you the answer you want. [Excel has weak protection - if you are distributing an application, I don't answer questions on how to protect your project from your users.]


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Master of Science (MS) degree Operations Research (ORSA)

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