How To Use Array_Constrain Formula in Google Sheets for Efficient Data Analysis

Published: February 27, 2024 - 2 min read

Hannah Recker

In Google Sheets, ARRAY_CONSTRAIN is an essential formula for managing large datasets. It limits an output array to a specific number of rows and columns. This function is vital for maintaining organized spreadsheets and optimizing performance by focusing only on necessary data.

How to Use an Array_Constraint

Click on the cell where you want the result to appear.

Enter the ARRAY_CONSTRAINT formula.

The syntax is ARRAY_CONSTRAINT(array, max_rows, max_columns).

  • array: The array or range to constrain.
  • max_rows: The maximum number of rows to return.
  • max_columns: The maximum number of columns to return.

For example:   =ARRAY_CONSTRAINT(A1:D10, 5, 2). This formula limits the range A1:D10 to the first 5 rows and 2 columns.

Introduction to the ARRAY_CONSTRAIN function in Google Sheets, highlighting its syntax and basic usage.

Press Enter to apply the formula.

After pressing Enter, the specified range with the set limits will appear starting from the cell where you entered the formula.

Example showing how to use ARRAY_CONSTRAIN to limit the number of rows and columns in a dataset in Google Sheets.

Best Practices

For optimal use of ARRAY_CONSTRAIN, know your dataset’s limitations and desired threshold.

Apply this function with others like SORT or FILTER formula to extract a dynamic subset of data that updates with changes in the spreadsheet.

Examples and Scenarios

To show only the top 3 rows and two columns from a sorted range, use ARRAY_CONSTRAIN(SORT(A1:B10, 1, TRUE), 3, 2).

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 Demonstrating the practical application of the ARRAY_CONSTRAIN function in sorting, filtering, and analyzing data within Google Sheets.
Comparison showing the output of a dataset in Google Sheets with and without the application of the ARRAY_CONSTRAIN function.

To pair ARRAY_CONSTRAIN with a QUERY function that aggregates data, use QUERY to get the desired subset of data first, then apply ARRAY_CONSTRAIN to limit the data flow to a manageable size.

Real-world Applications

The real-world applications of ARRAY_CONSTRAIN are numerous and varied. In sectors like sales and data analysis, one might use this function to extract a relevant subset of data for reporting or performance monitoring purposes.

For instance, creating a condensed report that displays only a certain number of columns and rows about the most recent quarters allows for a focused review of sales trends. ARRAY_CONSTRAIN can help manage and analyze student data, presenting key metrics without overwhelming detail in educational settings.

The ARRAY_CONSTRAIN function transforms how data is visualized and manipulated in Google Sheets, making it an essential tool for precise data analysis.

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Hannah Recker Growth Marketer
Hannah Recker was a data-driven growth marketer before partying in the data became a thing. In her 12 years experience, she's become fascinated with the way data enablement amongst teams can truly make or break a business. This fascination drove her to taking a deep dive into the data industry over the past 4 years in her work at StreamSets and Coefficient.
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