Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Chapter 13: Using functions**

CHAPTER 13

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

fundamentals.”

527