Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Using Excel Functions
Using Excel Functions
While creating a formula
provides mathematical calculations, Excel
includes a much more powerful feature
called functions . Functions are basically a fast way
to enter a complex formula. Excel has hundreds of
functions you can use, and it groups them together
by categories, such as mathematical, statistical,
logical, or date and time. Using functions can save
considerable room in the Formula bar and cuts
down on typographical errors that are so easy to
make when typing formulas.
Function names are not case sensitive.
Creating a Total with the SUM
The most commonly used function in Excel is the
SUM function, which adds two or more values
together and displays the total in the current cell.
If any of the values change, the SUM total will
automatically update. There are a number of
methods to enter the SUM function, but this section
describes two of the most common ways. The
syntax for the SUM function is =SUM( range of values
to total ).
Understanding Function Syntax
Functions consist of several different parts. Like a
formula, a function begins with an equals (=) sign.
The next part is the function name, which might
be abbreviated to indicate what the function does.
Examples of a function name include SUM,
AVERAGE, or COUNT. After the name, you enter a set of
parentheses and enter arguments within those
parentheses. For every open parenthesis there
must be a closing parenthesis.
Entering a SUM Function
One way to enter a SUM function is to type the
function in its syntax directly into a cell where you
want the answer. Like other formulas, Excel displays
the answer in the current cell, but displays the
actual function in the Formula bar (see Figure 9- 7).
Arguments are additional pieces of information
that clarify how you want the function to behave.
Arguments can consist of one or more
components, ranging from cell addresses such as D13 or a
range of cell addresses like D13:D25, to other
variables such as a number of digits you want Excel to
do something to. With only a few exceptions, all
functions in Excel must follow that pattern. This
function structure is called the syntax . Following
are a few examples of function syntax. You’ll learn
throughout this section what these functions do.