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Online Investing Hacks by Bonnie Biafore

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Add Conditional Commentary

You can use the Excel IF function to display reminders or recommend appropriate steps to take based on the values for a company’s financial results.

When you learn something new, some points don’t sink in the first time, particularly when the topic is as broad as investing. For a while, you must refresh your memory each time you look at a financial measure—“Why should I care about this?” or “Is this number good or bad?” Suppose you build a fancy spreadsheet for evaluating investments. Then, after a well-deserved vacation, you come back with no clue as to why you calculated the inverse sales to popularity ratio—at least you think that’s what you were supposed to calculate—nor do you remember how to use your masterpiece of a worksheet. Just like comments in code, instructions and notes in your worksheets aren’t a symptom of a compulsive disorder. They are a valuable aid to you, the author, helping you to remember what you were trying to do. If you share your work with others and prefer not to provide informal technical support, comments and notes are indispensable.

For financial analysis, you might want different notes depending on the values for financial measures. For example, you can display one note when earnings are growing faster than sales, and another note when earnings are not only growing slower than sales, but also growing slower than desirable for the size of the company. In Excel, you can use the IF function to display messages, and you can ...

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