Excel 2010 Working with Basic Functions

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Excel 2010

Working with Basic Functions

Working with Basic Functions

Lesson 17
Figuring out formulas for calculations you want to make in Excel can be tedious and complicated. Fortunately, Excel has an entire library of functions orpredefined formulas that you can take advantage of. You may be familiar with common functions like sumaverageproduct or count, but there are hundreds of functions in Excel, even for things like formatting text, referencing cells, calculating financial rates, analyzing statistics, and more.
In this lesson, you will learn the basics of inserting common functions into your worksheet by utilizing the AutoSum and Insert Functions commands. You will also become familiar with how to search and find various functions, including exploring Excel's Functions Library.

Basic Functions

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function is a predefined formula that performs calculations using specific values in a particular order. One of the key benefits of functions is that they can save you time since you do not have to write the formula yourself. Excel has hundreds of different functions to assist with your calculations.
In order to use these functions correctly, you need to understand the different parts of a function and how to create arguments in functions to calculate values and cell references.
Watch the video to learn how to insert functions into your worksheet.

The Parts of a Function

The order in which you insert a function is important. Each function has a specific order, called syntax, which must be followed for the function to work correctly. The basic syntax to create a formula with a function is to insert anequal sign (=), a function name (SUM, for example, is the function name for addition), and an argument. Arguments contain the information you want the formula to calculate, such as a range of cell references.
Syntax of a basic functionSyntax of a basic function

Working with Basic Arguments

Arguments must be enclosed in parentheses. Individual values or cell references inside the parentheses are separated by either colons or commas.
  • Colons create a reference to a range of cells.

    For example, =AVERAGE(E19:E23) would calculate the average of the cell range E19 through E23.
  • Commas separate individual values, cell references, and cell ranges in the parentheses. If there is more than one argument, you must separate each argument by a comma.

    For example, =COUNT(C6:C14,C19:C23,C28) will count all the cells in the three arguments that are included in parentheses.

    To Create a Basic Function in Excel:

    1. Select the cell where the answer will appear (F15, for example) 
    2. Type the equal sign (=) and enter the function name (SUM, for example).
      Creating a SUM functionCreating a SUM function
    3. Enter the cells for the argument inside the parenthesis.
      Adding cells to the function argumentAdding cells to the function argument
    4. Press Enter and the result will appear.
      ResultResult

    Using AutoSum to select Common Functions:

    The AutoSum command allows you to automatically return the results for a range of cells for common functions like SUM and AVERAGE.
    1. Select the cell where the answer will appear (E24, for example).
    2. Click on the Home tab.
    3. In the Editing group, click on the AutoSum drop-down arrow and select the function you desire (Average, for example).
      AutoSum commandAutoSum command
    4. A formula will appear in the selected cell E24. If logically placed, AutoSum will select your cells for you. Otherwise, you will need to click on the cells to choose the argument you desire.
      AutoSum selects and dsiplays cell rangeAutoSum selects and dsiplays cell range
    5. Press Enter and the result will appear.
      ResultResult
    The AutoSum command can also be accessed from the Formulas tab.

    Function Library

    There are hundreds of functions in Excel, but only some will be useful for the kind of data you are working with. There is no need to learn every single function, but you may want to explore some of the different kinds to get ideas about which ones might be helpful to you as you create new spreadsheets.
    A great place to explore functions is in the Function Library on the Formulas tab. Here you may search and select Excel functions based on categories such as FinancialLogicalTextDate & Time, and more. Review the following interactive to learn more.

    To Insert a Function from the Function Library:

    1. Select the cell where the answer will appear (I6, for example)
    2. Click on the Formulas tab.
    3. From the Function Library group, select the function category you desire. In this example, we will choose Date & Time.
    4. Select the desired function from the Date & Time drop-down menu. We will choose the NETWORKDAYS function to count the days between the order date and receive date in our worksheet.
      Function Library Date & Time category Function Library Date & Time category
    5. The Function Arguments dialog box will appear. Insert the cursor in the first field and then enter or select the cell(s) you desire (G6, for example).
      Selecting cell for the Start-date fieldSelecting cell for the Start-date field
    6. Insert the cursor in the next field and then enter or select the cell(s) you desire (H6, for example).
      Selecting cell for the End_date fieldSelecting cell for the End_date field
  • Insert Function Command
  • Click OK and the result will appear. Our results show that it took 5 days to receive the order.
    ResultResult
    The Insert Function command is convenient because it allows you to search for a function by typing a description of what you are looking for or by selecting a category to peruse. The Insert Function command can also be used to easily enter or select more than one argument for a function.

    Using the Insert Function command:

    In this example, we want to find a function that will count the total number of supplies listed in the Office Supply Order Log. The basic COUNT function only counts cells with numbers; we want to count the cells in the Office Supply column, which uses text. Therefore, we will need to find a formula that counts cells with text.
    1. Select the cell where the answer will appear (A27, for example)
    2. Click on the Formulas tab and select the Insert Function command.
      Insert Function commandInsert Function command
    3. The Insert Function dialog box will appear.
    4. Type a description of the function you are searching for and click Go. For our example, we will type: Count cells with text. (You may also search by selecting a category.)
      Searching for a functionSearching for a function
    5. Review the results to find the function you desire. We will use COUNTA. Then click OK.
      Reviewing function search resultsReviewing function search results
    6. The Function Arguments dialog box will appear. Insert the cursor in the first field and then enter or select the cell(s) you desire (A6:A14, for example).
      Selecting cell range for Value1 fieldSelecting cell range for Value1 field
    7. Insert the cursor in the next field and then enter or select the cell(s) you desire (A19:A23, for example). (You may continue to add additional arguments if needed.)
      Selecting cell range for Value2 fieldSelecting cell range for Value2 field
    8. Click OK and the result will appear. Our results show that 14 Total Supplies were ordered from our log.
      ResultResult

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