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-- by Joel T. Patz
Data searches usually require precise criteria and defined limits. That's fine if what you're seeking is a specific file or an absolute set of numbers. But when you're looking for decision-making data in spreadsheets, a slight variation in criteria can make the difference between success and failure. FlexFilter 1.0, an add-on product for Excel, extends that program's capabilities using approximate criteria to allow filtering. The program places a menu choice on the Excel main menu bar.
Working within an Excel spreadsheet, you select the data you wish to filter (a range of cells or a single cell for the entire worksheet). The FlexFilter Search Define Criteria dialog box lets you choose which of the attributes (headers, titles or column numbers) to analyze and the Hedge criteria (equal, about, above, below, from/to) to apply. Depending on these factors, you can set the numeric criteria. If you enter incorrect criteria for the specified attribute, FlexFilter will tell you the valid range values. Additionally, you can weight a factor's importance, and your data is returned in sorted order.
The program puts your fuzzy criteria into sharper focus.
Copyright (c) 1997 CMP Media Inc.
Windows Magazine, March 1997, page 167.