# Using Excel with engineering equations

1. Mar 10, 2005

### hedons

I need to plug some equations into Excel.

I am using the Insert-->Name-->Define feature to assign a given cell to a defined named variable.

Example... cell a1 = X, cell b1 =y

this way I can say cell c1 = X*Y rather than having to say c1=a1*b1

Here's the problem...

I need to define named variable for "X" and also for "x", but Excel doesn't seem to let me make both upper and lower case variables of the same letter. I can't believe that it's not possible. Help please!

Thanks!

2. Mar 10, 2005

### FredGarvin

I think you're SOL when it comes to this. Excel doesn't differentiate with names of cells. I would simply get used to different variable names.

3. Mar 10, 2005

### hedons

:-(

I'll have to come up with some other symbols to use.

Thanks!

4. Mar 10, 2005

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
IMHO, Excell was created for business use, not scientific. I find it very difficult to make it do basic scientific plotting, ie try putting error bars on your graphed data points.

5. Mar 11, 2005

### FredGarvin

That is absolutely true Integral. I do like it for certain situations when the opportunity presents itself though. I like to use it when I want to see the effects in variations of a variable or the like. Nothing too in depth though.

6. Mar 11, 2005

### Q_Goest

I work for a large industrial gas company, and Excel is one of the main programs used for engineering. They've even created special databases which link with Excel to do thermal analysis. Much of Roarks has also been programed into Excel. Even ASME BPV and pipe code equations have been made into Excel spread sheets. Then there's all the specs used for purchasing equipment that are Excel spread sheets.

Prior to this job I worked at Lockheed Martin Astronautics, and with the exception of Fortran, Excel was the second most used program for engineering.

Excel: It's not just for business any more! ;)

7. Mar 11, 2005

### PerennialII

The situation is somewhat similar in our department as well ... when first came here was surprised by why people rather do their work in excel rather than use the more sophisticated software available ... actually still wondering why, but for example most data analysis is done in excel (where I can remotely see why it is favored).

8. Mar 11, 2005

### Integral

Staff Emeritus
You bet it is used a lot, by engineers and scientists alike, but that still does not mean that it is really suited to the job.

9. Mar 11, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Air Products in Allentown?

Anyway, I also use/have used Excel quite a lot. Being somewhat lazy, I'm all about numerical methods for problem solving, and with Excel, its a piece of cake.

And if we're troubleshooting an HVAC system, we'll put temperature sensors all over the place, then upload the data into Excel and graph it. A picture is worth 1000 words and its invaluable for visualizing problems with system performance.

Last edited: Mar 11, 2005
10. Mar 11, 2005

### FredGarvin

I use TK Solver quite a bit, but admittedly I would rather sit down with Excel and work it that way. It may be laziness, but I think I prefer the numerical methods as well.

I have always used Excel for large data dumps. It is very easy to look at large amounts of discrete data points.

11. Mar 11, 2005

### minger

I personally absolutely love Excel. When I worked at Honda, I did a ton of warrantee claim data analysis using excel. The IT guys had it set up that through Excel, we could access every claim filed by a dealer.

For school, I use Excel all the time. For things that require iterations or multiple calculations. There's no better feeling than realizing all of your formulas are in correct, and all you have to do is drag your cells across.

Plus I've just recently learned how to draw a number out of a table in Excel, so it still never ceases to amaze me how powerful it actually is.

12. Mar 11, 2005

### PerennialII

Actually using VB in conjunction with it is a pretty handy and quick tool, especially data processing.

13. Mar 11, 2005

### Staff: Mentor

Yeah, maybe it isn't laziness - I just prefer looking at numbers and graphs to looking at equations.

14. Mar 6, 2007

### BoJosley

You should checkout www.excelcalcs.com. The home page reads "Download our free XLC software which gives MS Excel the capability of displaying cell formulae as mathematical equations. Your worksheets will read like text books, they'll be easy to understand and easy to check.

15. Mar 6, 2007

### FredGarvin

Bo,
I have seen that page quite a while ago. It didn't have too much the last time I looked. It sure has changed. That add on is fantastic. It has so many things that I am used to doing the long way. The "name equation" function alone is worth it's weight in gold. Thanks!

16. Mar 6, 2007

### DePurpereWolf

Indeed, Excel is great for scientific data import and mathematical manipulations. I've used Mathcad, Mathematica, Origin and Excel (with VBA).

It is easy to create VBA functions with excel because of the 'record-macro' function. Also, not everybody of my clients can read origin files, so that's why I have been choosing excel over Origin lately.

It doesn't work for matrixes though, If you want to deal with matrixes, the only way is Origin. Also, if the math gets to complex, Mathematica or Mathcad is the tool of choice.

17. Mar 6, 2007

### BoJosley

The excelcalcs site has been open as a test site since January 2007 but began inviting users only in March 2007. They are looking for as many users as possible so you could help them out by sending your friends and colleagues there.

18. Mar 6, 2007

### Staff: Mentor

Ehh.... this seems like spam, Bo. Locking, pending review.