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.

Tip

Function names are not case sensitive.

=SUM(B3:B21)

=AVERAGE(F1:G6)

=IF(B3>B4,“yes”, “no”)

Creating a Total with the SUM

Function

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.