A formula question

Copper Contributor

I have created a budget in Excel but want to streamline it.  Each column is a particular budget item like Groceries, Gasoline, etc.  I type in the name of the store, the date of purchase, and the method of payment in the 1st 3 columns.  I then have to scroll many columns over to get to the column the budget amount goes in.  This is time consuming since I have many budget columns.  I would like to assign a code to each budget column then put that code in column 4 then the amount in column 5.  My formula question is this.  Is there a way to have Excel automatically put the amount I typed in column 4 in the correct budget column it is supposed to go in when it sees a specific code in column 3?  I know how to do simple formulas like SUM but don't know how to do one this complex.  I would love some input on this.


Here is an example:

Column #1       /      2          /           3          /    4      /       5       /      6        /       7          /      8 

Store                /  Date        /    Pay source  /  Code  /  Amount / Gasoline /  Groceries  /  Electric  /...

PG&E              /  11/1/23  /           Ckg       /     8     /   150.00   /                /                    /  150.00   /

1 Reply


You can achieve this in Excel by using a combination of functions, such as INDEX and MATCH, along with conditional statements like IF or IFS. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to set up your budget sheet with the code-based automatic allocation of expenses to the correct budget column:

  1. Create a Reference Table: Create a reference table where you associate each code with a specific budget category. For example:











  1. Use INDEX and MATCH Functions: In your "Amount" column (Column 5), you can use the INDEX and MATCH functions to look up the category based on the code in Column 4. Let's say your reference table is in cells F1:G4. In cell E2 (for the "Amount" column), enter the following formula:

=INDEX($G$1:$G$4, MATCH(D2, $F$1:$F$4, 0))

    • $G$1:$G$4 contains the categories.
    • D2 is the cell where the code is located in Column 4.
    • $F$1:$F$4 contains the codes.
  1. Fill Down Formula: After entering the formula in cell E2, drag the fill handle (a small square at the bottom right corner of the cell) down to apply the formula to all rows in the "Amount" column.

Now, when you enter a code in Column 4, Excel will automatically look up the corresponding budget category from your reference table and display it in the "Amount" column.

This method allows you to streamline your budgeting process and automatically allocate expenses to the correct budget category based on the code you enter in Column 4. You can expand your reference table with more categories and codes as needed.


OR you can achieve this by using lookup functions and possibly a combination of VLOOKUP and IF functions. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to set up your budget sheet with codes in column D and automatically allocate amounts to the respective budget columns based on the code in column C:

  1. Define Your Budget Codes: Create a reference table somewhere in your workbook that associates each code with a budget category. For example, you can have a table like this:

Code Category 1 Gasoline 2 Groceries 3 Electric

  1. Use VLOOKUP to Retrieve Budget Category: In column F (where you want to automatically categorize the expenses), you can use the VLOOKUP function to find the corresponding budget category based on the code in column D. In cell F2, you can enter the following formula:

=VLOOKUP(D2, $A$2:$B$4, 2, FALSE)

    • D2 is the code in column D.
    • $A$2:$B$4 is the reference table containing codes and categories.
    • 2 indicates that you want to retrieve the value from the second column of the reference table (the category column).
    • FALSE ensures an exact match.
  1. Use SUMIFS to Calculate Total for Each Category: In columns G, H, I, and so on (your budget columns), you can use the SUMIFS function to calculate the total for each budget category. For example, in cell G2 (for the "Gasoline" category), you can enter the following formula:

=SUMIFS($E$2:$E$100, $F$2:$F$100, G$1)

    • $E$2:$E$100 is the range of amounts.
    • $F$2:$F$100 is the range where you categorized the expenses in step 2.
    • G$1 refers to the budget category name in cell G1 (which is "Gasoline" in this example).
  1. Fill Down the Formulas: After entering these formulas in cells F2 and G2, you can copy them down to apply the same logic to the entire column.

Now, when you enter an expense in columns D and E, Excel will automatically categorize the expense based on the code in column D and calculate the total for each budget category. This setup streamlines your budgeting process and keeps your budget data organized. You can add as many budget categories as you need by extending your reference table and budget columns. The text was created with the help of AI.


My answers are voluntary and without guarantee!


Hope this will help you.


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