When you have just started using Microsoft Excel, a lot of questions, you may have a lot of questions. Although many users said this is a simple spreadsheet application, it can be a quite complicated program with new users.
Creating tables, formatting and filling in data are very simple tasks, which can be done without taking a lot of time to learn. But managing and manipulating complex data require a lot of skills that you need to spend more time to learn and practice.
Aside from basic Microsoft Excel features, there are a lot of robust functions that will help you to save time when working on your worksheet. Spending some time in learning how to use Excel functions, will help to learn how to create and manage complex reports as well as analyze the data like an expert.
To help you use Excel more efficiently, here are five essential Excel functions that you must know.
1. SUM Function
This is one of the most used Excel functions when we need to calculate data on your spreadsheet. Instead of using a calculator to add numbers together, this function will do those steps automatically. It will help you to sum a group of cells, a particular row or column quickly.
Therefore, you don’t need to use the calculator or type a long and complicated formula to sum numbers in Excel. Even more, you can sum multiple rows or columns at once to speed up your work. One thing you should remember, you need to be careful when choosing the range of cells as this function will total everything you select. Hence, a wrong move can lead to a wrong result on your worksheet.
To add the SUM function in Excel, use this syntax “=SUM(value1,value2)”. It will total two numbers and show you the result. To sum a range of cells, such as from B2 to B9, enter this formula “=SUM(B2:B9)” to the cell where you want to display the result and press Enter. A simple but powerful function, right?
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2. TEXT Function
What would you do when you want to convert a list of date to texts? Well! The simplest way is to use the TEXT function, which helps to convert a numerical value (such as a number or the date format) to a string within seconds.
This is quite an essential Excel function when you need to view numerical values in the text format. However, all the results you got after using this TEXT function can’t be calculated. Obviously, you can’t sum or minus a group of texts, right?
To use this function, use this syntax “=TEXT(value,format_text)”. The simplest example is that if you have a date format value, such as 4/29/2017 in the cell B2. Suppose you want to find out the abbreviated day of it. Then just use the “=TEXT(B2,”ddd”)” syntax, and it will show you “Sat”, which stands for Saturday.
3. VLOOKUP Function
Using Ctrl + F shortcut to search for specific data on your large spreadsheet is quite painful. Instead, you can use the VLOOKUP function to find any data, such as names, phone number or date format quicker. This is an incredibly powerful function in Excel that many users don’t know about.
Therefore, instead of searching for your wanted data manually, this function makes your work much faster and more efficient. The syntax of the VLOOKUP function is:
- lookup_value: The data that you want to search for.
- table_array: The column that you want to narrow your search.
- col_index_num: The column number that you want to return the value.
- range_lookup: This is an optional value, which allows you to find the exact match without sorting your table.
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4. AVERAGE Function
Aside from the SUM function, this is one of the most used Excel functions as well. It helps you to get the average value in a particular range of cells, or a whole row or column.
To use the AVERAGE function on your worksheet, use this syntax “=AVERAGE(value1,value2,value3,…)”. For example, if you want to get the average value of three numbers, 32, 45, 90, then type “=AVERAGE(32,45,90)” and then press Enter. To use with a range of cells, such as B2 to B9, type “=AVERAGE(B2:B9)” and then hit Enter. Quite simple, right?
5. CONCATENATE Function
This is a handy function, especially when you need to combine multiple data. Unlike the Excel merge tool, this function is quite flexible, which allows you to customize the format of the new data.
For instance, if you have two columns: Experiment Number, Status – and want to combine them together and display in a new column, then the CONCATENATE function is the right choice. The syntax is:
If you want to combine two cells, B2 and C2, then type “=CONCATENATE(B2,C2)”
You can also customize the format of the new data by adding more text string into it. For example “=CONCATENATE(“Experiment #”,B2,” is “,C2)”.
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