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Number Crunching 101: Functions, Formulas, and Ranges
Number Crunching 101:
Functions, Formulas, and
What makes Excel so powerful, and maybe even exciting, is its ability to bring
something to the worksheet that wasn’t there before. Taking a column of sales figures
and finding their average or determining the highest score on a test—automatically—is
really what Excel is about. If all you’re doing is entering names and values on the
worksheet without doing something to that information, you’re probably using the wrong
application—sort of a souped-up Word, only with cells instead of paragraphs. Learning
how to compose your own Excel formulas and use Excel’s built-in calculations, called
functions , allow you to use some of Excel’s real potential.
And you’ll see that formulas tie into ranges—because your formulas often work with
many cells at the same time (e.g., for computing sums, averages, and many other
mathematical operations).
Of course, this is a mighty big subject, and learning all the things Excel can do in this
area would require a book a whole lot larger—and more expensive—than you’d be
prepared to pay for. What we’re going to do here introduce the essentials—the things
you have to know in order to get your money’s worth—both from this topic and from
Automatic Calculations with Functions
We’ll start with functions and see how to carry out all sorts of calculations on your data.
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