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Chapter 7. Using Functions

  • What functions and arguments are

    One of Excel's strengths is its extensive list of built-in functions that can calculate and return a variety of mathematical and statis tical values.

  • How to write and edit a function

    There are several ways to enter a function in a cell. You can type it directly into the cell or you can insert it into the cell using Insert, Function or the Paste Function button.

  • How to use the AutoSum tool and Paste Function

    The AutoSum and Paste Function buttons help you quickly create and edit functions.

  • How to find Help on a function

    You can find help on a function in a variety of ways including the Help menu and the Office Assistant.

  • Descriptions of many Excel functions

    This section describes the most commonly used Excel functions.

As you saw earlier in this book, a cell can contain text, numbers, formulas, or functions. Both formulas and functions allow you to put a calculated value in the cell. Formulas allow you to do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and formulas can contain functions.

Excel uses prebuilt worksheet functions to perform math, text, or logical calculations or to find infor- mation about the worksheet. Functions allow you to speed up your calculations compared to writing a formula. For example, you could create a formula =(A1+A2+A3+A4+A5+A6+A7+A8)/8 or use the function =AVERAGE(A1:A8) to do the same thing. Whenever possible, use functions rather than writing your own formulas. Functions are fast, take up less space in the formula bar, and reduce the chance for typographical errors.

Functions act on data in much the same way that formulas act on numbers. Functions accept information, referred to as arguments, and return a result. In most cases, the result is a calculation, but functions also return results that are text, references, logical values, arrays, or information about the worksheet.

In the first part of the chapter, you learn what functions are and how to use them. The latter part of the chapter is a directory of the majority of Excel's approximately 200 worksheet functions with descriptions of the arguments that the functions use. The directory is divided by types of functions and includes examples for many of the functions.



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