How To Apply Same Formula To Multiple Cells In Excel Find the Closest Zip Code With Microsoft Excel

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Find the Closest Zip Code With Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel’s “custom functions” can perform many special tasks related to address and location-based information, such as checking the validity of mailing addresses, importing demographic information, even calculating travel time and mileage. Custom functions, also called UDFs (user-defined functions), perform complex calculations or tasks and are used in cell formulas just like standard Excel functions SUM or AVERAGE. In this article, we describe how to use custom functions to identify which zip code in a list is closest to a target location.

Finding the nearest zip code or address has many applications. For example, a mailing list of potential customers can be matched with the nearest store locations, or a list of shipping addresses with the nearest distribution centers. This type of analysis requires geocode (latitude and longitude) coordinates to calculate the straight-line distance between locations. Once all possible postcode combinations have been distance calculated, the one with the shortest distance is selected.

How to do this in an Excel worksheet? A custom function can automatically grab latitude and longitude from a local database and then perform distance calculations based on that data. Because it all happens completely in the background, there’s no need to learn a new application or even leave your familiar Excel environment. For example, suppose we have a list of store addresses in a worksheet from A1 to A10. We can find the closest store to the customer in zip code 08034 by entering the following into the custom function worksheet cell: “= CustomFunction (A1:A10, 08034)”. The result returned to the worksheet is the closest store in the specified range A1:A10.

We can apply the same custom function to multiple customer addresses listed in column B. If the first customer zip code is in cell B1 of the worksheet, the formula for cell C1 would be =CustomFunction(A1:A10,B1). We can then simply copy and paste this formula into the rest of the list to find the nearest store for each customer.

This is a good example of how Excel custom functions can automate various tasks and calculations without having to learn a new application or even leave the familiar Excel environment. From checking the validity of address information to finding the closest zip code to your destination, custom functions can be valuable tools for analyzing address and location-based information.

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