#tlah Managing your class list in a spreadsheet, part 2

When we last visited our spread sheet, we used formulas to cut apart a list of names in our class that resulted in the following spreadsheet:

Our great class

Today, we will learn some more programming techniques in our quest to create another column in our spreadsheet which would have the students full name in the format Firstname Lastname. To create this full name column, you might try:


Ugh, what’s this #VALUE! result? In this instance, it is because you tried to use the + operand on data which cannot be added. This means we need to talk about data types. We’ll touch on two today, number and string (for those that know, a number data type can be a very complex beast, but we’re trying to keep it simple!). A number data type is basically anything numeric. 19 and 87 are two numbers. We can add those two numbers and get 106. A string is a data type that can encompass letters, numbers, and symbols. Luke is a string as is I am your father. But, 19 and 87 can also be strings, it just depends on what you want to do with them.

With strings, you don’t add, you concatenate (yes, that’s a real word, go look it up!). When you concatenate Luke and I am your father you get LukeI am your father (no space between Luke and I because the original strings don’t have a space). You can also concatenate 19 and 87 to get 1987. The operand to concatenate is &. So for our example in Column D we will use the & to concatenate the two fields:


Oh, so close! But now we have LukeSkywalker, we want a space between them. To add the space, we just concatenate a " " in between the two cell references:

=B2&" "&C2

And violà! We have a new column with the users Firstname Lastname:

mygreatclass-firstname-lastname-l.png (640×292)

How would you write the formula to create a username which consists of the last two digits of the grad year, last name, firstname?

p.s. All posts in the series – Managing your class list in a spreadsheet