Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding Functions
Understanding Functions
If you are looking for a speedier way to enter formulas, you can use any one of a wide variety of
functions. Functions are ready-made formulas that perform a series of operations on a specified
range of values. Excel offers more than 300 functions, grouped into 13 categories, that you can use to
perform various types of calculations. Functions use arguments to identify the cells that contain the
data you want to use in your calculations. Functions can refer to individual cells or to ranges of cells.
Function Elements
All functions must start with an equal sign (=).
Functions are distinct in that each one has a name.
For example, the function that sums data is called
SUM, and the function for averaging values is called
AVERAGE. You can create functions by typing them
directly into your worksheet cells or the Formula
bar; alternatively, you can use the Insert Function
dialog box to select and apply functions to your
data.
Construct an Argument
Functions use arguments to indicate which cells
contain the values you want to calculate. Arguments
are enclosed in parentheses. When applying a
function to individual cells in a worksheet, you can
use a comma to separate the cell addresses, as in
=SUM(A5,C5,F5). When applying a function to a
range of cells, you can use a colon to designate the
first and last cells in the range, as in =SUM(B4:G4).
If your range has a name, you can insert the name,
as in =SUM(Sales).
Types of Functions
Excel groups functions into 13 categories, not including functions installed with Excel add-in programs:
Category
Description
Financial
Includes functions for calculating loans, principal, interest, yield, and depreciation.
Date & Time
Includes functions for calculating dates, times, and minutes.
Math & Trig
Includes a wide variety of functions for calculations of all types.
Statistical
Includes functions for calculating averages, probabilities, rankings, trends, and more.
Lookup & Reference
Includes functions that enable you to locate references or specific values in your
worksheets.
Database
Includes functions for counting, adding, and filtering database items.
Text
Includes text-based functions to search and replace data and other text tasks.
Logical
Includes functions for logical conjectures, such as if-then statements.
Information
Includes functions for testing your data.
Engineering
Offers many kinds of functions for engineering calculations.
Cube
Enables Excel to fetch data from SQL Server Analysis Services, such as members, sets,
aggregated values, properties, and KPIs.
Compatibility
Use these functions to keep your workbook compatible with earlier versions of Excel.
Web
Use these functions when you work with web pages, services, or XML content.
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