IMARGUMENT: Google Sheets Formulas Explained

Hi there! Are you looking to become a Google Sheets master? Do you want to make your spreadsheet work for you instead of the other way around? Well, you're in luck because I'm here to talk to you about the magic of formulas! Get ready to take your Sheets game to the next level.

The Basics of Formulas

If you're new to the world of Google Sheets, you might think that it's just a tool for organizing data in a table format. But did you know that Sheets has the power to perform complex calculations and automate tasks? That's right, with formulas, you can turn your raw data into insights and actionable information.

Formulas in Sheets start with the "=" sign, followed by a function and its arguments. For example, '=SUM(A1:A10)' will add up the values from cell A1 to A10. Here are a few basic functions you should know:

  • SUM: adds up a range of cells
  • AVERAGE: calculates the average of a range of cells
  • MAX: returns the highest value in a range of cells
  • MIN: returns the lowest value in a range of cells
  • COUNT: counts the number of cells in a range that contain numbers

These functions might seem basic, but they are the foundation for all more complex operations in Sheets. By using them effectively, you can make your spreadsheets work for you.

Advanced Formulas

Now that you've got the basics down, let's take a look at some more advanced formulas that can help you gain deeper insights from your data.


The VLOOKUP function lets you search for a value in a table and return a related value. For example, you could use VLOOKUP to search for a name in a list of employees and return their department or salary. The formula looks like this: '=VLOOKUP(search_key, table_array, col_index_num, [range_lookup])'. The arguments are:

  • search_key: the value you want to search for
  • table_array: the range where you want to search for the value
  • col_index_num: the column index number where the related value is located
  • range_lookup: a logical value that specifies whether you want an exact or approximate match (optional)

Once you get the hang of VLOOKUP, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.


The IF function lets you set conditions for your spreadsheet to meet. For example, you could use IF to calculate a bonus for employees based on their performance. The formula looks like this: '=IF(logical_expression, value_if_true, value_if_false)'. The arguments are:

  • logical_expression: the condition you want to evaluate (e.g. A1>10)
  • value_if_true: the value that will be returned if the condition is true
  • value_if_false: the value that will be returned if the condition is false

The IF formula has limitless possibilities for making calculations dynamic and tailored to specific data sets.


The QUERY function lets you sort, filter, and manipulate data in ways that standard functions cannot. For example, you could use QUERY to filter a list of customers based on their purchase history. The formula looks like this: '=QUERY(data, query, [headers])'. The arguments are:

  • data: the range of data you want to query
  • query: your query expression that specifies sort, filter, and group options
  • headers: a number of header rows at the top of the data (optional)

The QUERY formula is powerful because it can handle complex data sets and give you valuable insights with just a few clicks.


Now that you have a basic understanding of formulas in Google Sheets, it's time to put them to work for you. The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination. So let your inner spreadsheet geek come out and start experimenting with formulas. You'll be amazed at the insights you uncover and the tasks you can automate. Happy calculating!

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