Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 13: Using functions
Using functions
Using the built-in function reference in Excel ........527
Exploring the syntax of functions ..................531
Inserting functions...............................533
WORKSHEET FUNCTIONS are special tools that perform complex calculations quickly and
easily. They work like the special keys on sophisticated calculators that compute
square roots, logarithms, and statistical evaluations—except Microsoft Excel
has hundreds of these special functions. Some functions, such as SIN and FACT, are the
equivalent of lengthy mathematical formulas you would otherwise have to create by hand.
Other functions, such as IF and VLOOKUP, can’t be otherwise duplicated by formulas. When
none of the built-in functions is quite what you need, you can create custom functions, as
explained in Chapter 29, “Creating custom functions.”
Using the built-in function reference in Excel
While preparing this topic, we had to make some tough choices. Fully describing each of
the hundreds of worksheet functions would ill an entire book—or two, perhaps. To provide
the greatest benefit, we had to decide which functions to focus on and which to mention
only briefly. Admittedly, we tend to devote more ink to financial, information, and lookup
functions than we do to engineering or trigonometric functions. We think this makes sense
for the majority of our readers. If you need more information about functions that we do
not cover in great detail, Excel offers several built-in resources:
The Help system The Excel Help system includes a detailed description of each
worksheet function. Just press F1 or click a question-mark icon to display the Excel
Help window, and then type a function name in the Search text box to find all the
relevant Help topics. You can also type Excel functions in the Search box and then click
either the Excel Functions (By Category) or Excel Functions (Alphabetical) Help topic.
For example, clicking Excel Functions (By Category) displays the information shown in
Figure 13-1.
For more information, see “Using the Help system” in Chapter 2, “Exploring Excel
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