Dynamic array formulas vs. legacy CSE array formulas

In September, 2018, we released dynamic array formulas for Excel in Office 365. The differences between dynamic arrays and legacy Ctrl+Shift+Enter (CSE) formulas are discussed below.

Note: September 24, 2018: Dynamic array functions are currently a beta feature, and only available to a portion of Office Insiders at this time. We'll continue to optimize these features over the next several months. When they're ready, we'll release them to all Office Insiders, and Office 365 subscribers.

Dynamic array formulas:

  • Can "spill" outside the cell bounds where the formula is entered. The following example shows the RANDARRAY function in D1, which spills across D1:F5, or 5 rows by 3 columns. The dynamic array formula technically only exists in cell D1, whereas with a legacy CSE formula, the formula would need to be entered in the entire range.

    RANDARRAY function entered in cell D1, spilling from D1 to F5.

  • Will automatically resize as data is added or removed from the source range. CSE array formulas will truncate the return area if it's too small, or return #N/A's if too large.

  • Calculate in a 1x1 context. For instance, the RAND function will return a single result, so if you want multiple random numbers returned to the grid, you can use the RANDARRAY function. The ROW and COLUMN functions will return the source cell's row and column. SEQUENCE(ROW()) can be used to replicate the old behavior of ROW in a legacy array formula.

  • Any new formulas that return more than 1 result will automatically spill. There's no need to Press Ctrl+Shift+Enter.

  • CSE array formulas are only retained for compatibility reasons. Going forward, you should use dynamic arrays formulas instead.

  • Can be easily modified by changing the source cell, whereas CSE array formulas require that the entire range be edited simultaneously.

  • Column and row insertion/deletion is prohibited in an active CSE array formula range. You need to first delete any existing array formulas that are in the way.

Need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community, get support in the Answers community, or suggest a new feature or improvement on Excel User Voice.

See Also

FILTER function

RANDARRAY function

SEQUENCE function

SINGLE function

SORT function

SORTBY function

UNIQUE function

#SPILL! errors in Excel

Spilled array behavior

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