# How VLOOKUP can get you in trouble and how to solve it

## An Extra Column Means Trouble

If you want to find a value in a table in Excel, a simple VLOOKUP function is usually a good and easy way to do it. But you have to be careful – if you insert a new column in your table, the function might not work anymore, and we have to find another approach. Here’s why:

# Hide Future Dates in Excel with Conditional Formatting

This is a very useful trick if you have a report showing dates and budget figures, and you want to make it more readable by making the future dates less visible.

Take a look at the report to the right. Assuming today’s date is 7/10, we want the dates from 7/1 through 7/10 to be easy to read, while the dates in the future should be hidden or greyed out. The trick is to not only dim the dates, but also the other columns on the same rows. This is an easy trick that you can apply on any report you get your hands on! Here’s how to do it:

# Excel: 2 + 2 = 5

Can 2 +2 be 5?

Yes, at least if you look at this example in Excel:

Of course, Excel doesn’t make mistakes like that, so there must be an explanation. Let’s try to increase the number of decimals:

As it turns out, the real calculation wasn’t 2 + 2; it just looked like that. It was actually 2,4 + 2,4 = 4,8, but when you decrease the number of shown decimals to none, Excel displays the nearest integer in the cell, and it looks like 2 + 2 = 5. The actual number behind doesn’t change.

More Excel oddities:

Are you using a non-English version of Excel? Click here for translations of the 100 most common functions.

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# Boolean logic in Excel: TRUE/FALSE instead of IF functions

Most of us use the IF function all the time, for example to test if one value is larger than another value. But many times there is an easier way to do it! Let’s use Boolean logic instead – it will save you a lot of time and struggle. Boolean logic, or Boolean algebra, is a kind of algebra where you’re looking for a TRUE or FALSE result.

Let’s look at an example. In this sales report, the sales reps get a bonus if they reach \$ 15,000 in sales:

# Remove Duplicates in Excel

How can you remove duplicates from a list in Excel?

Easy! Excel has a built-in feature for this. Just select one of the cells in the list and click on Remove Duplicates on the Data ribbon.

Voilà, the duplicates are gone:

For more advanced ways to handle duplicates (and triplicates, quadruplicates etc.), take a look at this article: How to Find Duplicates and Triplicates in Excel

More Easy Tricks:

Are you using a non-English version of Excel? Click here for translations of the 100 most common functions.