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Understanding Excel Functions
Excel Functions
To build powerful and useful formulas, you often
need to include one or more Excel functions as
operands. To get the most out of functions and to
help you build formulas quickly and easily, you need
to understand a few things about functions. For
example, you need to understand the advantages of
using functions and you need to know the basic
structure of every function. To get a sense of what is
available and how you might use functions, you need
to review the Excel function types.
A function is a predefined formula that performs a
specific task. For example, the SUM function
calculates the total of a list of numbers, and the
PMT (payment) function calculates a loan or
mortgage payment. You can use functions on their
own, preceded by =, or as part of a larger formula.
Function Advantages
Functions are designed to take you beyond the
basic arithmetic and comparison formulas by
offering two main advantages. First, functions
make simple but cumbersome formulas easier to
use. For example, calculating a loan payment
requires a complex formula, but the Excel PMT
function makes this easy. Second, functions enable
you to include complex mathematical expressions
in your worksheets that otherwise would be
difficult or impossible to construct using simple
arithmetic operators.
Function Structure
Every worksheet function has the same basic
structure: NAME(Argument1, Argument2, ...). The
NAME part identifies the function. In worksheet
formulas and custom PivotTable formulas, the
function name always appears in uppercase letters:
PMT, SUM, AVERAGE, and so on. The items that
appear within the parentheses are the functions’
arguments . The arguments are the inputs that
functions use to perform calculations. For example,
the function SUM(B2, B3, B4) adds the values in
cells B2, B3, and B4.
Mathematical Functions
The following table lists some common
mathematical functions:
Returns the remainder of a
number after dividing by the
PI( )
Returns the value Pi
Multiplies the specified
Returns a random number
between 0 and 1
Returns a random number
between the two numbers
Rounds the number to a
specified number of digits
Returns the positive square
root of the number
Adds the arguments
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