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# Excel - What does the square bracket and @ sign do?

Posted on 2014-09-30
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=IF((fruits[Produce_dpt]=[@Produce_dpt])*(fruits[Target]>0),fruits[Target]))

Can someone explain what the square brackets and @ sign mean?
I've worked with if tests before but never seen this.
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Question by:brothertruffle880
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Glenn Ray earned 500 total points
ID: 40353475
This is called "structured referencing" and it relates to how data is referred to in Excel Tables.

The square brackets refer to the "column specifier" or, the row headers.  The @ symbol refers to an item on this same row.

-Glenn

Resources (Microsoft)
Using structured references with Excel tables
Use structured references in Excel table formulas
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Expert Comment

ID: 40353493
Glenn you are very good in Excel.

and faster than others.  you are catching the questions right after few seconds on the fly when it is posted.

:)
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Assisted Solution

Glenn Ray earned 500 total points
ID: 40353510
So, reading out this formula (corrected syntax):
=IF((fruits[Produce_dpt]=fruits[@[Produce_dpt]])*(fruits[Target]>0),fruits[Target])

Look in the table "fruits."  If any of the values in the column labeled "Product_dpt" are equal to the value of the Produce_dpt item on this same row (as the formula) AND* the number in the Target column is greater than 0, then return the value of the relative Target.

* The multiplication logic is used to derive this.
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Author Comment

ID: 40378870
GLENN:
WHEN DID THIS FEATURE COME INTO BEING?   I never heard of it and I've been working in Excel for years!
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Assisted Solution

Glenn Ray earned 500 total points
ID: 40379147
This came about when Excel changed from "Lists" to formal "Tables" when they released Excel 2007.

If you have Excel 2007 or greater and have the option turned off to see table formulas (Excel Menu: File, Options, Formulas - "Working with formulas" section - "Use table names in formulas") then you might not have ever seen this; just cell references.

I've warmed up to their use recently; I find it convenient to refer to data in a manner similar to database tables.

-Glenn
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