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SUMIFS vs. arrays

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    SUMIFS vs. arrays

    Can someone explain the advantages/disadvantages of SUMIFS vs. array formulas?

    I've been a long time user of arrays when creating formulas that needs multiple conditions. But I've noticed some people here (most notably, Ace_XL) using SUMIFS, which I think is very elegant and easy to understand/explain.

    I know arrays are somewhat clunky... lots of computing power and error prone (with bad data)... plus trying to explain Ctrl-Shift-Enter to a noobie...

    I haven't explored SUMIFS to its fullest, but with little testing, it's been a great formula.

    However, does it have the same pitfalls as using arrays? (except no more Ctrl-Shift-Enter!)

    Thanks,
    Dennis
    Last edited by djapigo; 09-28-2012 at 03:11 PM.

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    Forum Moderator daddylonglegs's Avatar
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    Re: SUMIFS vs. arrays

    I'd recommend using SUMIFS (and associated AVERAGEIFS/COUNTIFS etc) - I believe it's quicker than most SUMPRODUCT/SUM(IF array formulas for summing with multiple conditions - also has the advantage that you can specify the whole column but SUMIFS is intelligent enough to only look at the "used range" - array formulas and SUMPRODUCT will calculate for all specified rows, forcing you to either cut back the ranges or use dynamic ranges.

    When conditions are more complex SUMPRODUCT and/or array formulas might still be more appropriate
    Audere est facere

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    Forum Expert Kevin UK's Avatar
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    Re: SUMIFS vs. arrays

    Hi djapigo

    Hi there are numerous topics on the subject of array formulas and I personally think it is down to the size of your workbook etc. Thou I might be wrong!

    Read this link to Microsoft web site discussing the matter, the page also has 2 VBA timers to record how long each formula takes.
    Formula: copy to clipboard
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    From one John Walkenbach books:

    The main advantage, of course, is that an array formula enables you to perform otherwise
    impossible calculations. As you gain more experience with arrays, however, you undoubtedly will also
    discover some disadvantages.
    Array formulas are one of the least understood features of Excel. Consequently, if you plan to share a
    workbook with someone who may need to make modifications, you should probably avoid using array
    formulas. Encountering an array formula when you don’t know what it is can be very confusing.
    You might also discover that you can easily forget to enter an array formula by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
    (And don’t forget: If you edit an existing array, you must remember to use this key combination to complete
    the edits.) Except for logical errors, this is probably the most common problem that users have
    with array formulas. If you press Enter by mistake after editing an array formula, just press F2 to get back
    into Edit mode and then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter.
    Another potential problem with array formulas is that they can slow your worksheet’s recalculations,
    especially if you use very large arrays. On a faster system, this delay in speed may not be a problem.
    But, conversely, using an array formula is almost always faster than using a custom VBA function.
    Kevin

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    Re: SUMIFS vs. arrays

    Thank you both!

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