## You are learning Cell Referencing in MS Excel

How to use wildcards (*) in cell references?

You can't directly use wildcards (* or ?) within cell references in Excel formulas. However, there are workarounds to achieve a similar effect depending on what you're trying to accomplish. Here are two common approaches:

1. Concatenating Text and Cell References:

This method involves combining text with a cell reference using the CONCATENATE or & operator. For example, imagine you have text in cell A1 and want to reference cells that begin with "Prod" followed by any characters.

Here's the formula:

`=SUM(A2:A100 WHERE LEFT(A2:A100,4)="Prod")`

Explanation:

- `SUM(A2:A100)`: This calculates the sum of values in cells A2 to A100 (assuming your data starts from row 2).

- `WHERE LEFT(A2:A100,4)="Prod"`: This part uses the WHERE function with a logical test.

- `LEFT(A2:A100,4)`: Extracts the leftmost 4 characters from each cell in the range A2:A100.

- `"Prod"`: This is the fixed text you're looking for at the beginning.

- `="Prod"`: The comparison checks if the leftmost 4 characters match "Prod".

2. Using Indirect References:

This method involves building a dynamic cell reference based on the value in another cell. It's a bit more advanced but offers more flexibility.

For instance, if cell B1 contains the text "A3", you can use it to reference the value in cell A3 dynamically:

`=INDIRECT(B1)`

Explanation:

- `INDIRECT(B1)`: This function takes the value in cell B1 (which is "A3" in this case) and treats it as a cell reference. It then fetches the value from that referenced cell (A3).

Choosing the Right Method:

- Concatenation is simpler and works well for basic wildcard searches at the beginning or end of text strings.

- Indirect references are more powerful for complex scenarios where the reference cell itself can change dynamically.

Remember, these are workarounds, and the best approach depends on your specific needs and data structure. Consider the complexity of your task and choose the method that offers the most clarity and efficiency.