Working with Basic Functions

When using Excel functions play an important role in finding values for a range of cells. Learn all about using functions in Excel.

Basic functions

Video: Working with Basic Functions in Excel 2010

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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.

Syntax of a basic functionSyntax of a basic function

Working with arguments

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