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# Release 2016-08-06 Formula Argument Declaration confusion

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edited 12/09/19

The release notes says:

Formula Argument Declaration

Calculations can now run faster with the new logic for identifying a range. Rather than using =if(a1:a3) to specify a range in your formula, your functions will need to identify each cell, =if(a1, a2, a3), separately to be able to run the argument.

Using the IF() function does not make sense as a valid argument, since the commas could be taken as argument separators.

Can you provide a useful example?

Also, the text reads "will need to"

Testing reveals this is likely intended to say something like:

Calculations WILL/CAN now run faster with the new logic for identifying a range. Rather than using BETTER EXAMPLE to specify a range in your formula, your functions CAN identify each cell, BETTER EXAMPLE, separately to be able to run the argument WITH FASTER PROCESSING.

Thanks

Craig

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## Comments

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Agreed!

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Fair 'nuf, we'll take another crack at it.

Here's a better example.  Imagine I have a column called "Data" with the string "foo" in the first row and 1 in the 2nd row.  In the old world, I could create a formula =left(Data 1: Data 2) and it would return "f".  Now that would fail and I'd need to specify the formula as =left(Data 1, Data 2) to get it to work.  The old approach was never documented and appears to have been only used a few times, so this issue should be rare in practice.

Thanks,

Erik

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I did not realize (or would have expected) functions like LEFT to take a range as the argument.

Now I understand that it would have allowed a1:a3 as the argument for an IF statement.  Or, I assume it would have accepted a1:c1.

Shudder.

Good riddance.

Craig

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That's what we thought too!  This is actually related to why the new calc is so much faster - it now counts on things being well-formed and so can take a precise path to the answer.  The old approach was much more tollerant of oddly formed formulas, but that forced it to take a very indirect path to everywhere.  There's a bit of pain in the transition for some formulas / some sheets.  But afterwards, calculation performance should no longer be a concern for almost everyone (except us - we'll keep our eyes on it).  And we love making it easier for more people to do more things in the app.

This discussion has been closed.