Sunday, January 2, 2011

Creating automatic searches

OK, onto checking on all these oil companies - I've 114 of them listed. What are they up to? Google is our friend, of course, but how to streamline conducting the research?

In OpenOffice I have the list in one column, then "http://www.google.com/search?q=" in another, then "%20%20oil" in another. In yet another I have "=CONCATENATE($L$1;H1;$M$1)", which mashes all these items together. No quotes in any of these entries; note that it's "L$1$" to denote a fixed reference. These aren't actually hyperlinks yet, however; to convert them search for ".*" (no quotes) and replace with =HYPERLINK("&") (include quotes), with regular expressions on. You likely just want to do this to the list of the urls, or a copy thereof, rather than the whole sheet. Of course you can modify the original Google search url to one for Google News, to find the latest on the company in question, etc. This is a bit more quick than just retyping all this crud ad nauseum or infinitum. "Ad nauseum an infinitum"? I'm guessing at the correct Latin for the English "or."

This post should help anyone who wants to do a bit of searching on their own. As usual it was a colossal chore figuring out this rather simple operation. The anoraks of spreadsheets really need some kind of operations glossary, for those of us who don't want to spend hours delving into this arcana.

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