TYPE: Excel Formulas Explained

Are you intimidated by Excel formulas? Does the thought of creating a complex formula make you want to run in the opposite direction? Well, fear not my friend! As a self-proclaimed Excel enthusiast, I'm here to break down some of the most commonly used formulas in a way that anyone can understand. Trust me, by the end of this article, you'll be feeling like an Excel expert.

First things first: Basic formulas

Let's start with some basic formulas that you'll likely need in almost any Excel project you tackle. These formulas are the building blocks of more complex formulas, so it's essential to understand them first.

SUM formula

The SUM formula does precisely what it says- it adds up the values in a specific range. Let's say you want to find the total of A1 to A10 cells, you can do that by typing =SUM(A1:A10) on another cell and hit Enter. Voila! The answer is displayed in your selected cell.

AVERAGE formula

The AVERAGE formula performs just as its name implies- it will give you the average value of a selected range. For example, If you want to know the average of values in cells B1 to B10, type =AVERAGE(B1:B10) onto an empty cell, and Excel will calculate the average of those cells in the target cell.

MAX and MIN formulas

The MAX formula helps you find the largest value within a range of cells, while the MIN formula will allow you to find the smallest value. Type =MAX(D1:D10) to find the largest number and =MIN(D1:D10) to find the smallest number in cells D1 to D10.

A bit more complicated: Conditional formulas

Now that we’ve covered the basics let's get into more complex formulas. The following formulas are a bit more complicated, but don't worry- I’ll explain them in a more straightforward way.

IF formula

The IF formula is a handy tool that helps you set up a condition and execute a command based on that condition. It begins with an IF statement followed by a condition you want to check, a value to display if the condition is true and a value to display if the condition is false. Let's say you want to check if cell E1 is above or below 500. Here's how you can use the IF formula to do it:

=IF(E1>500,"Above 500", "Below 500")

With the formula above, if the value in E1 is above 500, the cell that contains the formula will display "Above 500". But if the value turns out to be lower than 500, the cell will display "Below 500".

SUMIF formula

The SUMIF formula adds cells together that meet specific criteria. For example, let's say you have a table of products with its price and quantity, and you want to know how much revenue that table generates based on products worth more than $50. Type =SUMIF(D1:D10,">50",C1:C10) on an empty cell. The formula calculates the revenue from the price column (column C) but considers only the products priced above $50 (column D).

COUNTIF formula

The COUNTIF formula counts the number of cells that meet a particular criterion. For instance, if you have a list of products and you want to know how many items that cost more than $50 there are, use this formula: =COUNTIF(D1:D10,">50").

The most complicated: Array formulas

Finally, let's talk about the most complex of formulas: Array formulas. Array formulas are used to perform calculations across a range of cells in one go. While they might seem intimidating, they can be a real-time saver once you get the hang of them.


The SUMPRODUCT formula allows you to multiply cells within two or more arrays and then add up the products. This formula may come in handy when calculating revenues based on both quantity and price. To do this, take note of the quantity sold and the price of each product, then type =SUMPRODUCT(C1:C10,D1:D10) on an empty cell. Excel will perform the calculation by multiplying the number sold with each product's rate, and will sum the products up to get the total revenue.


The TRANSPOSE formula lets you flip rows and columns in a table. Remember that you’ll need to use an array formula if you want this formula to work its magic. To get started, highlight a range of cells that you want to transpose. Let's say you want to flip a table of information about revenue and the month it was generated. To do this, select all your data, then type {=TRANSPOSE(A1:C3)} on an empty cell outside of your table. Press Ctrl + Shift + Enter and voila! Excel will flip the columns and rows within the selected range.

In conclusion

There you have it, folks! These formulas may seem daunting at first, but once you dive in and try them out for yourself, you'll find that they can make your life a whole lot easier. Of course, these were just a few of the many formulas available on Excel, but mastering them is a great start. Who knows, maybe someday you'll be an Excel wizard just like me.

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