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January 29, 2023

Ultimate Excel Bracket Round 3: The Great Eight

Oh, snap! #1 seed Pivot Tables is out! Here’s a rundown of the standings:

Worksheet Function
#10     VLOOKUP
#13     LEFT

Keyboard Shortcut
#1    Ctrl-S
#2     Ctrl-Z

Data Analysis Tools
#2     Table
#12     Filter

Other Features
#6     Format Painter
#8     Format Cells

Don’t get too comfortable folks, only half of these contenders will advance to the Final Four.  Read on to partake from our buffet of bracket analysis:

Round 3 – Worksheet Functions

Only one top 10 seed survived the third round:

  • #10 seed VLOOKUP vanquished #8 seed SUMPRODUCT in the third round. VLOOKUP vilified #2 seed IFERROR and #15 seed DATEDIF in earlier rounds.
  • #13 seed LEFT continues to leave carnage in its wake, lopping off #8 seed SUMPRODUCT, #12 seed DATEVALUE, and #5 seed OFFSET.

Up next in Round 4: VLOOKUP versus LEFT—nothing to see here folks, move along.

Round 3  – Keyboard Shortcuts

The #1 and #2 stay in after the third round:

  • #1 seed Ctrl-S stomped #4 seed Ctrl-Tab, after safely surpassing #9 seed Ctrl-Enter, and #16 seed Alt-Enter in the earlier rounds.
  • #2 seed Ctrl-Z zeroed out #11 seed F5, which had dominated its opponents in the earlier rounds. Ctrl-Z has also zipped past #7 seed Ctrl-A, as well as #15 seed Alt-Down Arrow.

Poised for battle in Round 4: Ctrl-S versus Ctrl-Z—choose wisely, my friends.

Final Four Preview: The winners of VLOOKUP vs. LEFT and Ctrl-S vs. Ctrl-Z will be taking the gloves off.

Round 3 – Data Analysis

Too much! The #2 and #12 seeds remain after the third round:

#12 seed Filter fought a battle royale against #1 seed Pivot Table to advance to the 4th round. Filter also forced out #4 seed Text to Columns and #5 seed Remove Duplicates in the earlier rounds.
#2 seed Table tangled with #6 seed Pivot Chart and lives to tell the tale. In earlier rounds Table took out #7 seed Chart and #15 seed Consolidate.

It’s practically a circular reference for Round 4: Filter vs. Table—no lo contendere.

Round 3 – Other Excel Features

It seems incomprehensible, but only #6 and #8 remain:

  • #8 seed Format Cells fixed #4 seed Groups wagon, that’s for sure. Format Cells has also fitted #16 seed Merge Cells and #1 seed Fill Handle into a box.
  • #6 seed Format Painter feasted on #10 Linked Workbooks. Format Painter also pummeled #3 seed Quick Access Toolbar and #11 seed Hyperlink in earlier rounds.

I didn’t see this Round 4 coming: Format Cells vs. Format Painter.  Fantastic!

Final Four Preview: The stronger of Filter vs. Table and Format Cells vs. Format Painter will survive to fight another day.


David H. Ringstrom, CPA @excelwriter on Twitter — heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm.

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