# Curly brackets in Excel formulas

formulas arrays curly brackets

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### #1 Carlton Seymour

Carlton Seymour

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 05:13 AM

Is there a logic for when to use curly brackets versus regular brackets? How does one know if they can use multiple formulas within a function?

Regards

Carlton

### #2 Jonathan

Jonathan

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 10:14 AM

Hi Carlton,

Curly brackets are used to define "arrays" within formulas, and can technically be used with any function that accepts a range of values.

For example, you can define a "virtual" range of cells by using the following array formula:

{"a",1;"b",2;"c",3}

This is effectively the same as:

You could write a VLOOKUP formula to search for the value corresponding to the letter b as follows:

=VLOOKUP("b",{"a",1;"b",2;"c",3},2,FALSE)

This will return 2 - the number that corresponds to the letter b.

This technique is most often used with functions such as SUMIFS and OR.  Examples:

=OR(A2={"a","b","c"})

=SUM(SUMIF(A2:A5,{"a","b","c"},B2:B5))

For a more comprehensive look at the OR and SUMIF functions, see the following video lessons:

Expert Skills Lesson 3-6: Use the SUMIF and COUNTIF logic functions to create conditional totals

Expert Skills Lesson 3-16: Use the AND and OR functions to construct complex Boolean criteria

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### #3 Carlton Seymour

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 12:21 PM

As always thank you Jonathan

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