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Since modeling is inherently inexact, we sometimes build into our models a safety margin. We call this cushioning. The contrary practice of planning to overtax resources is called crowding. In business modeling, there are occasions when both cushioning and crowding are valuable techniques. Quantization is the effect we observe in models when the values of some of the model parameters are restricted to lie in bands, or when they must adhere to specific values. For example, the practice of ”staircasing“ price schedules produces quantization effects in expense or revenue models.
Excel provides some facilities that are useful in all these situations, and we’ll explain them and illustrate their use. Cushioning, crowding and quantization can lead to complex and confusing models, but if you’re systematic about how you handle these effects, your models will be simpler and easier to maintain.
One effect that appears in complex models is usually an error — the circular reference. We’ll talk about circular references, and how to unwind them.
Below is a summary of pages for Session 3.
Links to other materials for Session 3.
Last Modified: Wednesday, 30-Jul-2014 04:28:26 EDT
Implicit Intersection is one of the most underrated — and at the same time one of the most powerful — techniques in all of Excel. Yet few people truly understand it.
Implicit Intersection is the method by which one cell can retrieve a value from another range by examining the intersection of its row (or column) with that range. If the intersection is unique — a single-cell — then the formula of the cell that depends on implicit intersection can update its value without incident. If not, an error results.
When talking about worksheet functions, it’s important to be careful about your choice of terminology. Technology is like that, and like it or not, Excel is a piece of technology.
Cells can have formulas, as we’ve seen, and those formulas can invoke worksheet functions. Cells do not contain functions — rather, they can contain formulas, which, in turn, can invoke one or more worksheet functions.
User-defined names are not functions.
To invoke a worksheet function in the context of a cell formula, one calls a worksheet function. Often, you hear this described as “applying a worksheet function.” Do not use that terminology. For example, we’ll speak of “calling a function on its arguments,” or “calling a function with its arguments.” We do not say that we “apply a function to its arguments.”
When Excel calculates the value of a cell, and that cell’s formula contains a call to a worksheet function, that function call is evaluated. Its value is then returned to the formula, which uses it, in turn, to compute its own value.
Sometimes you hear worksheet functions referred to as commands. They aren’t commands. Commands are found on Excel’s menus, or perhaps in some dialog boxes. Commands do things, like format a cell, or sort a range. Commands don’t return values — functions return values.