Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Understanding Excel Functions**

Understanding

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.

Functions

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 functionsâ€™

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:

Function

Description

MOD(number,divisor)

Returns the remainder of a

number after dividing by the

divisor

PI( )

Returns the value Pi

PRODUCT(number1,

number2,...)

Multiplies the specified

numbers

RAND( )

Returns a random number

between 0 and 1

RANDBETWEEN(number1,

number2)

Returns a random number

between the two numbers

ROUND(number,digits)

Rounds the number to a

specified number of digits

SQRT(number)

Returns the positive square

root of the number

SUM(number1,number2,...)

Adds the arguments