## Counting Combinations across multiple columns

I've got a group of data (about 200 rows long) with the following headers:

Student Name Grade Level 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice 4th Choice

The four columns for 1st through 4th choices will contain information as students select between 6-8 course offerings and they will choose four of them ranked 1 through 4. I order to schedule the courses (as only 2 of them will be scheduled at any one period

in the day) I need to determine which 2-course combinations occur most offen. So, with 6 courses (here I'll call them C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, and C6), I would need to check which of the 15 combinations (6*5/2...C1/C2 is the same as C2/C1) occurs the most often.

My preference would be to do this through a forumla so that the counts update as the information is updated. Doing it through a macro would be fairly straight forward but I'm not sure how to even start with a formula for cells to do this. Any help would

be appreciated!

## Anwsers to the Problem Counting Combinations across multiple columns

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If for example you have your table in in A1:F10 where columns C1:F10 have your 4 choices.

Then if you list the possible 15 combinations in say I1 to J15 like:

Then in K15 you can enter formula like:

=SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH(I1&"*"&J1,$C$2:$C$10&$D$2:$D$10&$E$2:$E$10&$F$2:$F$10)))+SUMPRODUCT(--ISNUMBER(SEARCH(J1&"*"&I1,$C$2:$C$10&$D$2:$D$10&$E$2:$E$10&$F$2:$F$10)))

copied down.

This will list the frequency of each combination....

there will most likely be repeat frequencies...

To list, say the top 3, then in say L1 enter:

=LARGE($K$1:$K$15,ROWS($A$1:$A1))

copied down 3 cells,

Then in M1 enter:

=INDEX(I$1:I$15,SMALL(IF($K$1:$K$15=$L1,ROW($K$1:$K$15)-ROW($K$1)+1),COUNTIF(L$1:L1,L1)))

confirm this formula with CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER not just ENTER

and copy down 3 cells and over to next column to get the combinations of highest frequency.

## Windows Error Reporting - To Fix Counting Combinations across multiple columns

- Go to Start button.
- Open Control Panel.
- Go to Windows Error Reporting.
- Click on System and Maintenance, then click Problem Reports and Solutions.
- Next, click Change Settings located on the left side panel of the Problem Reports and Solutions window.
- Select an option to configure how you want Windows to look for a solution to your problems. You may allow Windows to do it automatically or ask you every time to check if problem occurs.
- Next, click the Advanced settings link.
- Select Off to turn off Error Reporting.

## Recommended Method to Fix the Problem: Counting Combinations across multiple columns:

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