Exchange Rates in Excel: An Expert Guide

How To Obtain Exchange Rates in Excel

Welcome to "Exchange Rates in Excel: An Expert Guide", your definitive guide to harnessing the power of Excel for managing and analyzing currency exchange rates.

Whether you're a finance professional, a global trader, or a small business owner dealing with international transactions, understanding how to efficiently manipulate exchange rates in Excel can significantly enhance your operational efficiency and financial strategy.

This guide will walk you through the essential techniques from fetching real-time data to creating dynamic exchange rate charts.

By the end of this guide, you will have mastered the skills necessary to handle exchange rates in Excel with confidence and ease.

Setting Up Excel for Currency Data

Before diving into the dynamic world of currency exchange rates, setting up your Excel workbook correctly is crucial. This foundation will ensure that the data you import and analyze is accurate and easy to handle.

Basic Setup:

  • Formatting Cells: Right-click the cells designated for currency data and choose 'Format Cells'. Select the 'Currency' category and choose the appropriate currency symbol. This will not only visually identify these cells as financial data but also ensure calculations are carried out correctly.
  • Data Validation: Use data validation to restrict entries in certain cells to prevent errors. For example, setting validation for currency codes ensures that only valid ISO currency codes are entered.
  • Worksheet Organization: Create separate worksheets within a single workbook for different types of data: one for raw data imports, one for analysis, and one for visual reports. This keeps your data organized and manageable.

External Data Sources:

  • Setting Up Connections: Excel’s 'Get & Transform Data' feature (formerly known as Power Query) can be used to connect to external databases or APIs. Set up these connections to pull live exchange rate data from financial websites or databases.
  • Maintaining Security: Ensure that any connections to external data sources are secure, especially when handling sensitive or proprietary financial information. Use secure and authenticated APIs to retrieve your data.

Getting Currency Exchange Rates in Excel

As mentioned previously, the currency data type allows you to access and compare exchange rates from all over the world in one place. Our goal in this article is to help you learn how to upload currency pairs, convert them into data types, and extract more information from them to obtain robust data. 

Here are the steps:

  • Enter the currency pair in a cell using this format: From Currency To Currency with the ISO currency codes. For example, enter "USD/EUR" to get the exchange rate from one United States Dollar to Euros.

Select the cells and then select Insert > Table. Although creating a table isn't required, it'll make inserting data from the data type much easier later.

With the cells still selected, go to the Data tab and select the Currencies data type.

If Excel finds a match between the currency pair and our data provider, your text will convert to a data type and you'll see the Currencies icon "Linked record icon for Stock" in the cell.

To extract more information from the Currencies data type, select one or more converted cells and select the Insert Data button that appears or press Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+F5.

You'll see a list of all the fields available to choose from. Select the fields to add a new column of data. For example, the Price represents the exchange rate for the currency pair, Last Trade Time represents the time the exchange rate was quoted.

Once you have all the currency data that you want, you can use it in formulas or calculations. To ensure your data is up to date, you can go to Data Refresh All to get an updated quote.

And that's it! You have created your own Exchange Rate Screener in a few, simple steps by using Excel Functionalities. However, keep in mind that currency pairs are only available to Microsoft 365 accounts (Worldwide Multi-Tenant clients.)

Nevertheless, there is an alternative in case you don't have a Microsoft 365 Subscription.

Wisesheets is a powerful add-on that integrates seamlessly with Excel and Google Sheets, offering a straightforward way to pull live financial data, including current and historical exchange rates. This functionality is particularly useful for users who need up-to-date financial information for analysis, reporting, or decision-making.

The Wisesheets Alternative: Retrieve Currencies with WISEPRICE

Wisesheets leverages the WISEPRICE function to retrieve both current and historical financial data. This function is especially valuable for monitoring exchange rates, as it enables users to effortlessly access up-to-date currency exchange information.

To get the price data currency, you can use =WISEPRICE("currency", "price"). However, instead of using "/" to separate your currencies, you need to input them altogether.

For example: =WISEPRICE("USDEUR", "price") or =WISEPRICE("GBPUSD", "price")

As a first step, you can enlist the currencies that you wish to analyze as the following example:

Then, you can simply use our WISEPRICE Function (as stated in our documentation). The function syntax would be: =WISEPRICE("ticker/s", "parameter/s")

As for this case, the function call would be:

=WISEPRICE(C2,D1:F1)

Once you retrieve this result, you can drag down the formula, or better yet, use ranges:

The best part of this powerful alternative is that you can't just track Exchange Rates, but also, track Stocks and add them to your analysis for deeper research on how the market is behaving and monitoring your Investment Portfolio.

To do this, you need to get a list of stocks that you want to analyze. In this example, we are going to track the Technology Sector:

Now, fill the columns with the parameters for your Exchange Rate Tracker. You can try the following:

To obtain the currency of the stocks, you can use =WISEPRICE("ticker", "currency"):

Then, input the target currency that you want to convert and the Currency Pair (as shown previously):

Let's use everything we have learned! Now you can obtain the Price (which shows you the Exchange Rate) and Price of the Stock with the following formulas:

=WISEPRICE(D2, "Price") for the Exchange Rate

=WISEPRICE(A2, "Price") for the real-time stock price

Last but not least, you can simply multiply the cells of column E with the ones from column F to obtain the Converted Price, according to your currency:

Benefits of Using WISEPRICE in Wisesheets:

  • Real-Time Data: Wisesheets provide access to real-time financial data, which is crucial for tracking volatile metrics like exchange rates.
  • Ease of Use: The WISEPRICE function is designed to be user-friendly, making it accessible even to those with minimal technical expertise.
  • Versatility: Beyond exchange rates, Wisesheets can retrieve a variety of financial data points, making it a versatile tool for financial analysis.
  • Automation: By automating data retrieval, Wisesheets can save significant time and effort, reducing the manual workload and minimizing the risk of human error.

Importing and Refreshing Exchange Rate Data: How to Automate

With your Excel environment set up, the next step is to import and keep your exchange rate data up-to-date with minimal manual intervention.

Using Excel Functions:

  • WEBSERVICE Function: This Excel function can be used to pull data from a URL. When combined with FILTERXML, it can parse XML or JSON data from financial APIs to retrieve exchange rates:

=WEBSERVICE("http://api.finance.com/exchange_rates")

  • FILTERXML Function: Use this function to parse XML data fetched by WEBSERVICE:

=FILTERXML(WEBSERVICE("http://api.finance.com/exchange_rates"), "//rate")

Automating Data Refresh:

  • Scheduled Refresh: If you’re using Excel 365 or Excel 2019, take advantage of the automatic data refresh features in Power Query to ensure your data is always current without needing to manually update.
  • VBA Scripts: For advanced users, VBA can be used to automate data fetching and refreshing tasks. You can write scripts that trigger data refresh every time you open the workbook or at specified intervals.

In Conclusion…

Mastering exchange rates in Excel is an invaluable skill for anyone working with financial data in today's global economy.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, from setting up your Excel workbook to visualizing data trends, you have equipped yourself with the knowledge to manage and analyze exchange rates efficiently and effectively.

Excel's robust functionalities make it an indispensable tool for financial analysis and decision-making.

We hope you found this guide helpful and invite you to share your experiences or pose questions in the comments below.

Are there specific challenges you've faced while working with exchange rates in Excel? Do you have tips or tricks that might benefit others? Let’s discuss and expand our collective knowledge!

Hello! I'm a finance enthusiast who fell in love with the world of finance at 15, devouring Warren Buffet's books and streaming Berkshire Hathaway meetings like a true fan.

I started my career in the industry at one of Canada's largest REITs, where I honed my skills analyzing and facilitating over a billion dollars in commercial real estate deals.

My passion led me to the stock market, but I quickly found myself spending more time gathering data than analyzing companies.

That's when my team and I created Wisesheets, a tool designed to automate the stock data gathering process, with the ultimate goal of helping anyone quickly find good investment opportunities.

Today, I juggle improving Wisesheets and tending to my stock portfolio, which I like to think of as a garden of assets and dividends. My journey from a finance-loving teenager to a tech entrepreneur has been a thrilling ride, full of surprises and lessons.

I'm excited for what's next and look forward to sharing my passion for finance and investing with others!

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