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Arrays can make you a real Excel power user. Watch Excel Video 345 to get started. An array is simply a collection of things, and an array formula can make multiple calculations at once on the contents of an array. The important thing to take away from this Excel Video is that the big difference between an array formula and a regular Excel formula is that instead of pressing Enter after entering the formula, you have to press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. Sometimes you’ll hear array formulas referred to as CSE formulas since you get an error if you don’t press Ctrl+Shift+Enter after entering an array formula.
Now is as good a time as any to tell you that array formulas can simplify or complicate a spreadsheet. Arrays can speed things up or slow things down. We’ll start with basic array formulas that can be done other ways in Excel. The real power of arrays comes from doing things you can’t otherwise easily do in Excel. As we go through this series on arrays, watch for ways to use arrays, but don’t unnecessarily complicate your spreadsheets with arrays when there are easier ways to do the same thing in Excel.
A basic type of an array formula is a single cell array formula that makes multiple calculations and stores the result in a single cell. Next time we’ll take our array knowledge one step further with a multiple cell array formula that enters a formula in multiple cells at the same time. I look forward to seeing you then.