A function is a predefined formula the performs calculations using particular values in a details order. Excel consists of many typical functions that can be used to quickly discover the sum, average, count, maximum value, and also minimum value because that a variety of cells. In order to use functions correctly, you'll need to understand the various parts of a function and how to produce arguments to calculate values and cell references.

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Watch the video clip below to learn much more about working through functions.

The parts of a function

In order to occupational correctly, a duty must be written a particular way, i beg your pardon is referred to as the syntax. The straightforward syntax because that a function is the equals sign (=), the function name (SUM, because that example), and one or more arguments. Disagreements contain the details you want to calculate. The role in the example below would include the worths of the cell range A1:A20.


Working v arguments

Arguments deserve to refer come both individual cells and also cell arrays and need to be enclosed in ~ parentheses. Girlfriend can incorporate one discussion or lot of arguments, depending on the syntax forced for the function.

For example, the function =AVERAGE(B1:B9) would calculation the average of the worths in the cell variety B1:B9. This function contains just one argument.


Multiple debates must it is in separated by a comma. For example, the duty =SUM(A1:A3, C1:C2, E1) will add the worths of all of the cell in the three arguments.


Creating a function

There are a variety of functions accessible in Excel. Here are few of the most usual functions you'll use:

SUM: This role adds every one of the worths of the cells in the argument.AVERAGE: This function determines the average the the values consisted of in the argument. The calculates the amount of the cells and then divides that worth by the variety of cells in the argument.COUNT: This duty counts the variety of cells through numerical data in the argument. This duty is advantageous for easily counting items in a cell range.MAX: This role determines the highest cell value had in the argument.MIN: This role determines the lowest cell value contained in the argument.To develop a function using the AutoSum command:

The AutoSum command enables you to immediately insert the most typical functions right into your formula, consisting of SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, MIN, and MAX. In the example below, we'll usage the SUM duty to calculate the total cost for a perform of newly ordered items.

Select the cell that will certainly contain the function. In ours example, we'll pick cell D13.

In the Editing group top top the Home tab, click the arrow alongside the AutoSum command. Next, pick the desired function indigenous the drop-down menu. In ours example, we'll select Sum.

Excel will location the function in the cell and also automatically pick a cell range because that the argument. In ours example, cells D3:D12 were selected automatically; their worths will it is in added to calculate the total cost. If Excel selects the wrong cell range, you deserve to manually get in the desired cells into the argument.
Press Enter on her keyboard. The role will it is in calculated, and the result will appear in the cell. In our example, the sum of D3:D12 is $765.29.

You can additionally use the Alt+= keyboard shortcut instead of the AutoSum command. To use this shortcut, hold down the Alt key and then push the equals sign.

Watch the video below to check out this faster way in action.

To enter a role manually:

If you currently know the duty name, you can easily form it yourself. In the example below (a tally the cookie sales), we'll use the AVERAGE duty to calculation the average number of units sold by each troop.

Select the cell that will certainly contain the function. In our example, we'll choose cell C10.
Type the equals authorize (=), and enter the wanted function name. Friend can also select the desired function from the list of suggested functions that shows up below the cell as you type. In ours example, we'll kind =AVERAGE.
Enter the cell range because that the argument inside parentheses. In ours example, we'll type (C3:C9). This formula will include the worths of cells C3:C9, then divide that value by the total variety of values in the range.
Press Enter on her keyboard. The function will it is in calculated, and also the result will appear in the cell. In ours example, the average number of units marketed by every troop is 849.

Excel will not constantly tell you if your formula consists of an error, so it's approximately you come check every one of your formulas. Come learn how to perform this, read the Double-Check your Formulas class from our Excel recipe tutorial.

The duty Library

While there room hundreds of attributes in Excel, the people you'll usage the many will count on the type that data your workbooks contain. There's no need to find out every solitary function, yet exploring few of the various types the functions will assist you as you create new projects. Friend can even use the Function Library ~ above the Formulas tab to browse features by category, such together Financial, Logical, Text, and Date & Time.

To access the Function Library, choose the Formulas tab on the Ribbon. Look for the Function Library group.

Click the buttons in the interactive listed below to learn much more about the different varieties of attributes in Excel.

AutoSum Command

The AutoSum command permits you to automatically return results for common functions, like SUM, AVERAGE, and also COUNT.

Recently Used

The recently Used command gives you access to features you've recently functioned with.


The Financial group contains functions for gaue won calculations prefer determining a payment (PMT) or interest rate for a loan (RATE).


Functions in the Logical category check arguments for a worth or condition. For example, if an order is more than $50, include $4.99 because that shipping; if the is more than $100, do not fee for shipping (IF).


The Text group contains attributes that occupational with the text in arguments to do tasks, such as converting text to lowercase (LOWER) or replacing text (REPLACE).

Date & Time

The Date & Time category contains functions for working with dates and time and will return results choose the present date and time (NOW) or the seconds (SECOND).

Lookup & Reference

The Lookup & Reference group contains features that will certainly return results for finding and also referencing information. For example, friend can add a hyperlink come a cabinet (HYPERLINK) or return the worth of a particular row and also column intersection (INDEX).

Math & Trig

The Math & Trig group includes features for numerical arguments. Because that example, you can round worths (ROUND), discover the value of Pi (PI), main point (PRODUCT), and subtotal (SUBTOTAL).

More Functions

More functions contains extr functions under categories because that Statistical, Engineering, Cube, Information, and also Compatibility.

Insert Function

If you're having trouble recognize the ideal function, the Insert role command allows you to search for functions using keywords.

To insert a role from the role Library:

In the example below, we'll usage the COUNTA duty to count the total variety of items in the Items column. Uneven COUNT, COUNTA deserve to be used to tally cells that contain data of any kind of kind, not simply numerical data.

Select the cell that will contain the function. In our example, we'll select cell B17.


Click the Formulas tab on the Ribbon to access the role Library.From the Function Library group, select the preferred function category. In our example, we'll pick More Functions, then float the computer mouse over Statistical.
Select the desired duty from the drop-down menu. In ours example, we'll choose the COUNTA function, which will certainly count the number of cells in the Items shaft that space not empty.
The Function Arguments dialog box will appear. Select the Value1 field, then enter or choose the preferred cells. In our example, we'll get in the cell variety A3:A12. You may continue to add arguments in the Value2 field, but in this situation we only want to count the variety of cells in the cell range A3:A12.When you're satisfied, click OK.
The duty will be calculated, and also the result will appear in the cell. In our example, the an outcome shows the a complete of 10 items were ordered.

The Insert duty command

While the role Library is a great place to browse because that functions, periodically you might prefer to search for one instead. You can do so using the Insert Function command. It may take some trial and also error depending upon the kind of duty you're spring for; however, v practice, the Insert function command deserve to be a powerful way to uncover a function quickly.

To use the Insert role command:

In the instance below, we desire to uncover a role that will calculate the number of organization days it took to get items after they were ordered. We'll usage the dates in columns E and also F to calculation the distribution time in pillar G.

Select the cell that will certainly contain the function. In our example, we'll pick cell G3.
The Insert Function dialog box will certainly appear.Type a couple of keywords describing the calculation you want the role to perform, then click Go. In our example, we'll kind count days, however you can also search by selecting a category from the drop-down list.
Review the results to find the desired function, climate click OK. In our example, we'll select NETWORKDAYS, which will certainly count the number of business days in between the ordered date and also received date.
The Function Arguments dialog box will appear. Indigenous here, you'll have the ability to enter or choose the cells the will consist of the debates in the function. In our example, we'll enter E3 in the Start_date field and also F3 in the End_date field.When you're satisfied, click OK.
The role will be calculated, and the result will appear in the cell. In our example, the result shows that it take it four organization days to get the order.

Like formulas, functions can be duplicated to surrounding cells. Simply pick the cell that consists of the function, climate click and drag the fill manage over the cells you want to fill. The role will be copied, and also values for those cells will be calculated relative to their rows or columns.

To find out more:

If you're comfortable with basic functions, you may want to try a much more advanced one choose VLOOKUP. Examine out our article on just how to use Excel's VLOOKUP function for much more information.

To find out even much more about working v functions, visit our Excel recipe tutorial.

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Click the Challenge tab in the bottom-left of the workbook.In cabinet F3, insert a duty to calculation the average of the four scores in cells B3:E3.Use the fill handle come copy your duty in cabinet F3 to cell F4:F17.In cabinet B18, use AutoSum to insert a duty that calculates the lowest score in cell B3:B17.In cabinet B19, usage the Function Library to insert a role that calculates the median that the scores in cell B3:B17. Hint: girlfriend can uncover the median role by going come More functions > Statistical.In cell B20, develop a function to calculate the highest score in cell B3:B17.Select cell B18:B20, then use the fill handle come copy every three features you just developed to cell C18:F20.When you're finished, your workbook need to look choose this: