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Zip Code Radius Calculations Using Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel’s “custom functions” can be used to perform many tasks related to address and location-based information, such as importing demographic data, verifying address accuracy, even calculating travel times and optimizing routes. Custom functions, also called user-defined functions (UDFs), perform complex calculations or tasks and are used in cell formulas just like standard Excel functions such as SUM or AVERAGE. In this article, we discuss how custom functions can also be used to detect zip codes within a certain distance or “radius”.
Zip codes can be very useful for analyzing demographic information and helping you better target customers and plan marketing campaigns. For example, identifying zip lines within a specified radius of potential new store locations can help you choose a location that is most accessible to your customer base. But instead of drawing circles on a map, a much easier way is to use a custom function in Excel that can do the job for you.
Let’s say you are evaluating a potential store location in zip 07470 and need a list of all zips within a 10 mile radius. To use the RADIUS function, simply enter the following formula in a worksheet cell: “= RADIUS (Destination Code, RadiusDistance)”. In this case, the formula is “=RADIUS(“07470″,10)” and the worksheet will display all results within 10 miles of 07470.
A formula can be customized to output data as a text string listed in a single cell or as an array of individual results across multiple cells in a spreadsheet. To return a formula as an array in Excel, simply highlight the target range with the mouse, then hold down the Ctrl and Shift keys and press Enter. The returned data can also include the calculated distance and sort it by proximity to the target zip. Additional options can be added to return the distance in kilometers or miles.
A custom function automates the process of finding all zip lines within a given radius by searching a local database and performing distance calculations based on latitude and longitude. All of this happens in the background, so the user works entirely in Excel and only sees the resulting zip code list displayed on their worksheet – no need to learn a new application or import a zip code list from a web page.
A major advantage of custom functions is their ability to process large amounts of data in tabular format. For example, to calculate the radius of a zip code in a list of zip codes in column A, simply enter the appropriate custom function formula in cell B1, such as: “= RADIUS (A1, 10)”, where “A1” is the location of the first zip code in the worksheet cell. Then copy and paste this formula into column B as needed; This way, you can perform radius calculations for literally thousands of zip codes without the time-consuming manual entry required for other programs.
These radius calculations are complemented by other useful custom Excel functions, such as calculating the distance between two given zip codes. The custom function formula in this case would be something like “= DISTANCE(TargetCode1,TargetCode2)”. The calculated distance can be as the crow flies or an estimated actual driving distance or time.
The Radius Custom Function is a great example of how Microsoft Excel functions can be used to automate complex tasks, all with a simple spreadsheet formula. Custom functions are very useful in Excel for analyzing address and location-based information, from calculating driving distance and time between addresses to detecting zip lines within a specified radius.
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