# Excel 2010

## Working with Basic Functions

### Basic functions

A **function** is a **predefined formula** that performs calculations using specific values in a particular order. One of the key benefits of functions is that they can save you time because you do not have to write the formula yourself. Excel has hundreds of functions to assist with your calculations.

To use these functions correctly, you need to understand the different **parts of a function** and how to create **arguments** in functions to calculate values and cell references.

You can download this example for extra practice.

#### The parts of a function

The order in which you insert a function is important. Each function has a specific order—called **syntax**—which must be followed in order for the function to work correctly. The basic syntax to create a formula with a function is to insert an **equals sign (=)**, **function name **(SUM, for example, is the function name for addition), and **argument**. Arguments contain the information you want the formula to calculate, such as a range of cell references.

#### Working with arguments

Arguments must be enclosed in **parentheses**. Individual values or cell references inside the parentheses are separated by either **colons** or **commas**.

**Colons**create a reference to a range of cells.

For example,**=AVERAGE(E19:E23)**would calculate the**average**of the cell range E19 through E23.

**Commas**separate individual values, cell references, and cell ranges in parentheses. If there is more than one argument, you must separate each argument by a comma.

For example,**=COUNT(C6:C14,C19:C23,C28)**will**count**all the cells in the three arguments that are included in parentheses.