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# Fastest way to get most recent salary

Posted on 2012-03-23
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I have a table with records (rows) that contain the following fields (columns):
Employee Name
Salary change
Change date

The table lists a new record for an employee whenever his/her salary changes.

I'm trying to get the salary (e.g. column b) for the most recent (max) date of each employee.  once I have list with only the unique values for the employees, how would I get the salary figure?

I think I would use an array formula, but I'm stuck.
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Question by:BBlu
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Author Comment

ID: 37759440
Actually, It's a little more complicated then that.  I need to return several columns from that row with the most recent date, including things like (new) Job Title and manager.  I think I'm on the right track, but am having problems finding the row with the most recent date.

I'm trying a combination of if and max with an array formula:

{=IF('Salary History'!B2:B8=EmployeeName,MAX('Salary History'!H2:H8),"")}

But it's giving me the max value in that date column no matter what.
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Author Comment

ID: 37759447
Oh, I had the max and if functions backwards.  This works now:
=MAX(IF('Salary History'!A2:A10000=2678,'Salary History'!H2:H10000,""))

Now, unless someone has a better idea, I need to figure out how to return which row this maximum (most recent) date is, so I can obtain the other information needed from other columns on that same row.  I was thinking I'd use the index function for this.
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Author Comment

ID: 37759470
I think I got it, actually.  I did not even know you could do array formulas that involved both concatenation and match: WOW!

=MATCH(EmployeeName&F3,'Salary History'!B1:B26&'Salary History'!H1:H26,0)
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LVL 81

Accepted Solution

byundt earned 500 total points
ID: 37759538
If Salary History worksheet is sorted by date, you can use LOOKUP function to get the most recent value:
=LOOKUP(1E+40,IF('Salary History'!A\$2:A\$10000=A3,'Salary History'!H\$2:H\$10000,""))     array-entered

The corresponding name can be returned using VLOOKUP:
=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A3,'Salary History'!A\$2:B\$10000,2,FALSE),"")

And the date using another array-entered formula:
=LOOKUP(1E+40,IF('Salary History'!A\$2:A\$10000=A3,'Salary History'!C\$2:C\$10000,""))
LastSalaryQ27646630.xlsx
0

LVL 81

Expert Comment

ID: 37759541
The LOOKUP approach allows for the possibility that a salary might go down (reduction in hours, for example). It also does not involve a time-consuming concatenation of two constraints.
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Author Comment

ID: 37760051
Can you explain what the "1E +40" part is?
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LVL 81

Expert Comment

ID: 37760747
The LOOKUP function assumes that the values are sorted in ascending order. If it doesn't find a value bigger than it is looking for, it returns the last value found. So the trick to getting the last value is to look for something bigger than any value found in the lookup range.

My pet large number is 10^40 (a 1 followed by 40 zeros) or 1E+40. This is bigger than any number an accountant would use, even in Germany during post-World War I inflation. Other people use 1E+308, which is the largest number that Excel can swallow.

LOOKUP can also find the last text value. You do that by looking for something that sorts dead last in alphabetical order. My pet string for this purpose is "zzzzz"
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Author Closing Comment

ID: 37774324
Thanks for the help.  I ultimately used an array formula to get the highest (most recent) date, then pulled the needed columns.  Your approach, however, offered another way of looking at it and I appreciate the lesson.
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