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Using the REPT Function

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Using the REPT Function.

Excel includes a worksheet function that allows you to repeat a text string any number of times: REPT. For instance, suppose cell B1 contains the value 5 and cell C1 contains the following:

=REPT("*", B1)

What Excel shows is five asterisks (*****) in cell C1. REPT takes whatever is in the quote marks and repeats it the number of times specified. If the string is more than one character, then it is also repeated that number of times. For instance, consider the following:

=REPT("/\", B1)

Assuming B1 still contains the value 5, this results in a ten-character string: /\/\/\/\/\. If you don't typically wax graphic or want to use Excel's charting features, you can use the REPT function to create simple histograms of your data.

The only caveat is that the string created by REPT cannot be any longer than 1,024 characters if you are using Excel 97. In later versions of Excel the created string can be up to 32,767 characters. If you exceed the limits of your Excel version you won't get an error, you just get a truncated string.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2160) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Using the REPT Function.

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