“Custom functions” in Microsoft Excel can do many unique tasks using address information, such as calculating driving time and driving distance, identifying addresses within a radius, even performing driving route optimization. Custom functions (also called User-Defined Functions) perform intricate calculations and are used in cell formulas just like SUM or AVERAGE. In this article we will describe how you can use these functions to create lists of zip codes (by city, county, or state) in Microsoft Excel.
These lists can be used for a variety of purposes, such as planning direct mail or advertising campaigns. But instead of cutting and pasting zip codes from a website or database, custom functions in Excel can automate interactions with a database and import lists easily into a worksheet, allowing the user to then analyze the data using Excel’s powerful built-in capabilities. From the user’s point of view, these custom functions look just like another formula in the worksheet. Since all interactions with the database occur in the background, the user can work entirely within the familiar Excel environment – there’s no need to learn a new application.
How would this work within an Excel worksheet? Let’s say we need a list of all the zip codes in the city of New Rochelle, in Westchester County, New York. To use a custom function called ZIPLIST, we just type this formula into a cell “= ZIPLIST (“New York”, “Westchester”, “New Rochelle”)”. The function we call ZIPLIST gets the required data from a local database and returns all the New Rochelle codes to the worksheet cell. If we need data for a long list of cities in a worksheet, we can also input a formula using the only worksheet cell locations, such as “= ZIPLIST (A1, B1, C1)”, where A1, B1, and C1 refer to the cell locations of the state, county, and city, respectively. We can then easily copy and paste this formula to apply it to all the cities in our list.
Lists for a county or state can also be generated using this method. For all zip codes in the state of California, the custom function formula is”‘= ZIPLIST (“California”). The omission of county and city information in this case indicates only state-level information is required.
This is a good example of how Excel custom functions can automate your work, with no need to learn a new application or even leave the familiar environment of Microsoft Excel. From calculating driving distance to generating zip code lists in Microsoft Excel, custom functions can be valuable tools for analyzing address information.