New in Excel

Dynamic Arrays

The introduction of dynamic array functionality seems to have caught a few people out, me included. Subscribers of Office 365 may have noticed the @ sign suddenly appearing within formulae. The old versions of Excel files were automatically updated to accept dynamic arrays. This then caused problems, because if you tried to edit your formulae by removing the @ sign the Spill Error occurred.

Spill Error

The spill error occurs when there is no room for the array to display the results of a formula. If you remove the @ sign from your formula, which tells Excel not to use the array feature, the array functionality kicks in and you will see a spill error.

Spill error

The example above has the Spill error because the array function I am using cannot fill down as the word test is in the way. Remove the word Test and the formula fills down and works as it should.

Spill correction

Spill Problem

Understanding spill is one thing but trying to sort out your own data with thousands of functions can become a bit tricky. I found it best to delete formulae where possible and retype them to let the array feature work and where that is not possible, make sure the @ sign remains and everyone that is using the file understands what it is there for. I have come across people that still use the @ sign instead of Sum, this is because they were exposed to Lotus 123 before Excel. Having formulae with two @ signs would be confusing, thankfully, if you type the @ sign now, Excel converts it to the equals sign.

Spill Example


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