Loading
Excel.Tips.Net ExcelTips (Menu Interface)

Developing Reciprocal Conversion Formulas

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: Developing Reciprocal Conversion Formulas.

Jeremy posed a problem that is based on two cells, A1 and C1. These cells are designed to contain inches and millimeters, respectively. Jeremy wants a way that someone could enter a value in A1 and it would be converted to millimeters in C1. Conversely, they could enter a value in C1 and it would be converted to inches in A1.

Doing the conversion, of course, isn't the real issue. The problem is that if someone enters a value in A1, that value will overwrite any formula that may be in that cell, and mean that any subsequent value entered in cell C1 would not give the required conversion in the previously overwritten A1.

There are a couple of different ways that this could be approached. If you don't mind expanding your worksheet design to include two more cells, those cells could be used strictly for input and cells A1 and C1 could be used strictly for output. One of the input cells could contain the value to be converted and the other could contain the measurement unit of the input value (in or mm, for instance).

Of course, if you want to really limit yourself to two cells, then you will need to resort to using macros to do the actual conversion. You can use a worksheet event that is triggered every time a cell value is changed, and the event handler could check to see if the cell being changes is either A1 or C1. The following macro gives an example of how this could work:

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Application.EnableEvents = False
    With ActiveSheet
        If Target = .[A1] Then
            .[C1].Value = .[A1].Value * 25.4
        ElseIf Target = .[C1] Then
            .[A1].Value = .[C1].Value / 25.4
        End If
    End With
    Application.EnableEvents = True
End Sub

Note that you don't have to have any formulas in cells A1 or C1; the formulas are in the macro itself. If there is a change in cell A1 (inches are entered by the user), then the value in cell C1 is changed by the macro. Likewise, if there is a change in cell C1 (millimeters are entered by the user), then the value in cell A1 is changed by the macro. A change in any other cell besides A1 or C1 is ignored by the macro.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (3277) 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: Developing Reciprocal Conversion Formulas.

Related Tips:

Excel Smarts for Beginners! Featuring the friendly and trusted For Dummies style, this popular guide shows beginners how to get up and running with Excel while also helping more experienced users get comfortable with the newest features. Check out Excel 2013 For Dummies today!

 

Comments for this tip:

Willy Vanhaelen    04 Jul 2015, 06:03
The macro in this tip is badly conceived.

The change event can of course only occur when the sheet is active, so 'With ActiveSheet' is superfluous.

The macro should check which cell triggered the change event.
Instead 'If Target = .[A1] Then' checks if the contents of Target is the same as the contents of cell A1. That can lead to erroneous results. For instance try to enter 10 in cell A1. Cell C1 will show 254 (correct). Now enter 10 in cell C1: nothing happens, cell C1 still shows 254 because 'If Target = .[A1] Then' is true but that is not what we should be testing for!.

Here is a macro that does its job correctly and it is even shorter.

Private Sub Worksheet_Change(ByVal Target As Range)
    Application.EnableEvents = False
    Select Case Target.Address
        Case "$A$1": [C1] = [A1] * 25.4
        Case "$C$1": [A1] = [C1] / 25.4
    End Select
    Application.EnableEvents = True
End Sub
Tom Bates    03 Jul 2015, 11:15
Allen, I had no idea that such a shortcut existed in VBA code:
  [B1]
is a lot shorter than
  Range("B1")
and
  Cells(1,2)

Thanks for that tip! That will save me keystrokes in the immediate window for sure!

Tom

Leave your own comment:

*Name:
Email:
  Notify me about new comments ONLY FOR THIS TIP
Notify me about new comments ANYWHERE ON THIS SITE
Hide my email address
*Text:
*What is 4+5 (To prevent automated submissions and spam.)
 
          Commenting Terms
 
 

Our Company

Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

About Tips.Net

Contact Us

 

Advertise with Us

Our Privacy Policy

Our Sites

Tips.Net

Beauty and Style

Cars

Cleaning

Cooking

DriveTips (Google Drive)

ExcelTips (Excel 97–2003)

ExcelTips (Excel 2007–2013)

Gardening

Health

Home Improvement

Money and Finances

Organizing

Pests and Bugs

Pets and Animals

WindowsTips (Microsoft Windows)

WordTips (Word 97–2003)

WordTips (Word 2007–2013)

Our Products

Premium Newsletters

Helpful E-books

Newsletter Archives

 

Excel Products

Word Products

Our Authors

Author Index

Write for Tips.Net

Copyright © 2015 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.