An aggregate answer to two Excel questions

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS

Q: Two reader questions:

1. Is there a way to subtotal large volumes of numbers in Excel 2010, while ignoring the values contained in hidden rows?

2. What is the best way to subtotal data in Excel 2010 that contain divide-by-zero errors?

A: The answer to both questions is to use Excel 2010’s new AGGREGATE function, which works just like the SUBTOTAL function, but includes options to ignore hidden rows, error values, or both. The trick to using AGGREGATE is the function’s second option, which dictates the data to be ignored. As pictured below, options 5, 6 and 7 are used to ignore hidden rows, error values, or both.

In the screenshot below, the same data has been summed three ways using the SUM, SUBTOTAL and AGGREGATE functions in cells A7, B7 and C7, respectively. (The formulas in row 7 are spelled out on row 8 so you can see both the formula and its results.)

Notice above that row 4 (which contains the value “5” in all three columns) is hidden. In this case, the SUM and SUBTOTAL functions include the hidden data in the results (25 and 25), but the AGGREGATE function ignores the hidden data when calculating the results (20).

Instead of hidden rows, the next example contains data with error values, but the solution is similar. This time the AGGREGATE function is used with the “Ignore Error Values” option to subtotal only the error-free data, while the SUM and SUBTOTAL solutions return errors.

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