Structured Reference

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20200918_162810.jpg20200918_162838.jpgProfessor and I cannot figure out why I got this formula incorrect in the assignment. I am including pictures of the instructions and the excel sheet with the formula filled in M2. She will even use my assignment from download and complete the formula the same and it will count it correct for her, however, if I do it the same way it will be wrong. I am operating on Office 365. Thank you for your help. 

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The image just doesn't make enough clear. Can't even tell for sure what cell is M2 from the image; you didn't include the top and side of the sheet, showing the row and column references. Nor do you show whatever nested IF formula you wrote.


Is it possible for you to post the spreadsheet itself?

@mathetes I hope all this information helps. There were three cell formulas that gave us trouble that we finally got help on the community to figure out how to get them to say the right information, well except for M2. My professor and I are still having issues figuring out why it is still saying mine is wrong but when she types it in on my document then it is right. So I am including pictures of the instructions for M2 and I am including pictures of the formulas of the other two cells that gave us trouble. I also included a picture of what I have in M2 as well. Hopefully this helps. 


In Windows there are many ways to make screenshot (e.g. Win+Shift+S) except mobile phone.

And I believe your professor could answer on your questions.



You can't seriously expect those images to be any more helpful than your first.


  1. I asked at the start if you could post the spreadsheet itself (it's part of a class, from all appearances, and can't therefore contain any proprietary or confidential info)
  2. I also noted you had not shown us the formula you have entered. At the very least, you can copy the formula from cell M2 (or wherever it is) and paste it here. My guess--and it's only a guess, although I don't understand why your professor is unable to diagnose the issue--is that you've left off something very small, like a quote mark (") or two, i.e., something that's easy to overlook especially in a nested IF formula.


Any way, if you seriously want help, post the spreadsheet itself or, at the very least, the errant formula.

@Sergei Baklan Thank you for telling me how to do a screenshot on the computer. I did not know how to do that. I have never posted on here before and I am trying to do it the best I can. I do not know what information if needed to get help because I do not know what I did wrong. 

@mathetes in cell M2 the formula used is =[@[Subject Leader]]

I am doing the best I can at providing what you need. The problem we are having is she will open my document I send her and type in the formula and it will be correct, however, when I type it in at home, the same formula on the same document, it is wrong. 

I attached the screenshot. I do not know why it is not showing up now.



You said just now: "in cell M2 the formula used is =[@[Subject Leader]]"


But in the assignment you posted in your very first message the instructions read as follows:

"in cell M2, enter a formula using a nested IF function and structured references to determine first....." [emphasis in the original]


So my question remains: what is the nested IF function that you've attempted to write in cell M2? 


I don't understand at all how =[@[Subject Leader]] can even come close (for you OR your professor) to satisfying the assignment. What is going on there?


And if you can post a picture, posting the actual spreadsheet uses the same method; I appreciate that it can be confusing to navigate this website, but you've managed with all these other steps. Please do yourself the favor of posting the actual spreadsheet.

@mathetes Ok I have figured out how to post the spreadsheet. 

@mathetes Here is the assignment instructions. 

This formula, put into cell M2 as required by the assignment, seems to deliver the desired result.

=IF([@[Academic Technology Training]]="Yes","Completed",IF([@[Service Years]]>2,"Yes","No"))


I've attached the full file with that new formula in place.


I still am mystified as to why you and your instructor have not been entering, or showing you, or why haven't you been showing us, a nested IF formula, since that's what the assignment requires for cell M2?  What am I missing in this picture?





@mathetes You were not missing anything. Your answer was correct. We are not sure what happened that made the wires cross like they did. Thank you so much for your assistance. 



You know, I don't want to be crude or cruel about this, but I really don't think you should be satisfied just shrugging your shoulders about it. You're going to school presumably to learn some critical thinking skills--some of which will be applied in writing formulas to derive desired results.


Some more of those critical thinking skills, ideally, would be to learning to do some diagnostic thinking: Why did something go wrong here? What is the cause, as you put it, that made "the wires cross as they did"?


You were working on an assignment that asked for a nested IF formula; you posted a copy of that assignment that clearly spelled out how it should work. You said you and your professor entered formulas; that hers worked, yours didn't. But never did you show us on this site a nested IF that either of you had written. So I'd be very curious if I were in your shoes, as to what you were doing, what she was doing, why both of you apparently missed what was truly a fairly simple formula.


You don't need to answer. But in the interest of your own broader education, I hope you think more deeply about things in general, how they work (or don't), not just about getting to the answer. I'm glad I was able to help in the latter; I encourage you to work at the former.


Screenshots: - you may pin to taskbar Snip & Scatch or/and Snipping Tool, but work. Or use shortcuts to use them.

Excel difference: - template is made for Excel 2016 which doesn't support Dynamic Arrays, and you are on Excel 365 which is more modern one and has Dynamic Arrays by default. Most probably the difference was since in some of formulas implicit intersection operator @ was missed. In some cases that could give different results (if no error appeared).