Formulas explained

Excel is an incredibly powerful tool for managing data, but with great power comes great complexity. And unfortunately, Excel can be quite intimidating for beginners. But fear not! In this article, I'm going to walk you through some of the most important Excel formulas you'll need to know.

First up is the SUM function. This one is pretty straightforward – it adds up a range of numbers. Let's say you want to add up a range of cells, from A1 to A10. Your formula would look like this:

`=SUM(A1:A10)`

Easy, right? And it's not just limited to adding up cells either – you can use the SUM function to add up multiple ranges. For example:

`=SUM(A1:A10,C1:C10)`

That would add up cells A1 through A10, as well as cells C1 through C10.

Next up is the COUNT function. This one is used to count the number of cells in a range that contain numbers. So if you have a range of cells that contain numbers, your formula would look like this:

`=COUNT(A1:A10)`

But what if you want to count the number of cells in a range that are not empty? That's where the COUNTA function comes in:

`=COUNTA(A1:A10)`

This will count the number of cells in the range A1 to A10 that aren't empty. It's a small difference, but an important one!

The AVERAGE function does exactly what you'd expect – it calculates the average value of a range of cells. So let's say you have a range of cells from A1 to A10 that contain numbers. Your formula would look like this:

`=AVERAGE(A1:A10)`

Again, it's not just limited to a single range – you can use the AVERAGE function to calculate the average of multiple ranges:

`=AVERAGE(A1:A10,C1:C10)`

That will give you the average of cells A1 to A10, as well as cells C1 to C10.

The MAX and MIN functions are used to find the highest and lowest values in a range of cells, respectively. So if you have a range from A1 to A10, your formulas would look like this:

`=MAX(A1:A10)`

`=MIN(A1:A10)`

Again, you can use these functions with multiple ranges:

`=MAX(A1:A10,C1:C10)`

`=MIN(A1:A10,C1:C10)`

The IF function is where things start to get a bit more advanced. This one allows you to specify a condition, and then perform different actions depending on whether that condition is true or false.

Let's say you have a range of values in column A, and you want to highlight any cell that is greater than 10. Your formula would look like this:

`=IF(A1>10,"Highlight","")`

If the value in cell A1 is greater than 10, the formula will return "Highlight". If it's not, the formula will return an empty cell.

Finally, we come to the VLOOKUP function. This is one of the most powerful functions in Excel, and it's perfect for when you need to find specific values in a large table of data.

Let's say you have a table of data that looks like this:

Name | Age | City |
---|---|---|

John | 30 | New York |

Jane | 25 | Los Angeles |

Bob | 35 | Chicago |

Now let's say you want to find the age of Bob. Your formula would look like this:

`=VLOOKUP("Bob",A2:C4,2,FALSE)`

Let's break that down. The first parameter is the value you're searching for – in this case, "Bob". The second parameter is the table of data you're searching through. The third parameter is the index column – the column that contains the value you're looking for. In this case, it's the second column, which contains the ages. And finally, the last parameter specifies whether you want an exact match or just the closest match. In this case, we want an exact match, so we set it to FALSE.

And there you have it – some of the most important Excel formulas you'll need to know! Of course, there are plenty more to learn, but this should give you a good starting point. Happy Excel-ing!