Eight Excel Functions That Will Make Your Life Easier
While it may seem like a fairly simple program on the surface, Excel is an incredibly powerful piece of software that allows users to store, calculate and manipulate large, diverse sets of numbers with ease. But large data sets are difficult to deal with when everything has to be done manually, which is why we use functions.
Functions allow you to add, subtract and otherwise manipulate or gain information from any set of data by simply typing it in a blank cell. Of course, not all of us are database administrators with years of experience with Microsoft products, so we won’t get into anything too technical.
What these functions will do is make your life a hell of a lot easier by allowing you to make calculations, better understand your finances and compile statistics with very little effort. Here are eight that you can learn, understand and implement right now.
As the name would suggest, typing =AVERAGE followed by brackets and a cell reference, e.g. (A1:B4) allows you to get the average amount for the dataset of your choosing. This can come in handy when calculating your finances.
MIN and MAX
MIN and MAX allow you to obtain the smallest and largest number in a set of data respectively. Format-wise, its exactly the same as AVERAGE. Most functions in this list are, unless otherwise stated.
Converting Pace to MPH and Back Again
This one’s a little more than just a single function. It comes in especially handy for runners or hikers who want to figure out their pace or speed without knowing the other measurements. Excel Semi-Pro has more information on Convert Mph Excel.
If you want to figure out how many cells in a specified range have numbers in them, =COUNT is your best friend. Add an A to the end to include cells that contain any other type of data in them as well, such as text.
This is especially helpful when drawing up custom planners. By typing in =DAYS followed by the specified range, you can figure out how many days there are between two specified dates. Excel will automatically know that you’re dealing with dates based on the formatting of the cells referenced.
For all the mathematicians who don’t want to go through the hassle of using a calculator, =SQRT followed by your desired number in brackets will give you the square root of said number.
Unnecessary decimal values keeping you up at night? =ROUND, followed by the cell reference, a comma and the number of decimals you want to round to, all in brackets, gets rid of those pesky after-comma digits.
This deceptively simple function draws data from two separate cells and combines it. With a bit of learning and skill, you’ll be surprised at just how useful CONCATENATE can be in day-to-day use.
There are dozens, if not hundreds of other functions in Excel that you may find useful. Microsoft’s support page has a variety of posts that can help you better understand each function. Otherwise, just play around a little on a blank spreadsheet and see what you can figure out.