Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Mastering Excel’s Built-in Functions
which are also available from a drop-down list. In this case as well, you can scroll through
the list and then press Tab to enter a specific value from that list as an argument. (To see
this feature in action, look at the example under “Engineering Functions” on page 374.)
Mastering Excel’s Built-in Functions
As we noted in the previous section, Excel divides its hundreds of built-in functions into
categories that you can see and explore using the Insert Function dialog box or the Function
Library section of the Formulas tab, as shown here.
In this section, we look at some of the most useful options in each category.
Financial Functions
If you work in the accounting department at your business, or if you’re involved in the
banking or securities industry—or even if you just want to track stocks, bonds, and other
financial instruments in your personal portfolio—then the functions in the Financial group
will be useful to you.
These functions allow you to take details from a particular transaction or instrument and
calculate accrued interest, yields, depreciation, internal rates of return, net present value,
and future value for that item. In addition to all-purpose financial functions that can be
used with any loan or investment, Excel includes functions that apply to specific classes of
securities, such as treasury bills. (See the three functions that begin with TBILL for details.)
One set of financial functions that even nonprofessionals can use is the group of functions
associated with loans and interest-bearing accounts of all types. For a mortgage, a
consumer loan (such as an automobile loan), or a credit card, for example, you can calculate
the monthly payment for a given rate of interest over a specific period of time. Or you
can do the calculation from another perspective, figuring the actual interest rate you’ll
pay given a fixed payment amount over a fixed period. The online help can be confusing
because it refers to “an investment,” even though that description applies to the lender and
not the borrower.
The five functions in this family mix and match the same group of arguments. Here, for
example, is the syntax of the PMT function:
PMT(rate,nper,pv,fv,type)
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