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.

To create a basic function in Excel:

  1. Select the cell where the answer will appear (F15, for example).
  2. Type the equals sign (=), then enter the function name (SUM, for example).
    Creating a SUM functionCreating a SUM function
  3. Enter the cells for the argument inside the parentheses.
    Adding cells to the function argumentAdding cells to the function argument
  4. Press Enter, and the result will appear.
    ResultResult

Excel will not always tell you if your function contains an error, so it's up to you to check all of your functions. To learn how to do this, read the Double-Check Your Formulas lesson from our Excel Formulas tutorial.

Using AutoSum to select common functions

The AutoSum command allows you to automatically return the results for a range of cells for common functions like SUM and AVERAGE.

  1. Select the cell where the answer will appear (E24, for example).
  2. Click the Home tab.
  3. In the Editing group, click the AutoSum drop-down arrow and select the function you want (Average, for example).
    AutoSum commandAutoSum command
  4. A formula will appear in E24, the selected cell. If logically placed, AutoSum will select your cells for you. Otherwise, you will need to click the cells to choose the argument you want.
    AutoSum selects and dsiplays cell rangeAutoSum selects and displays cell range
  5. Press Enter, and the result will appear.
    ResultResult

The AutoSum command can also be accessed from the Formulas tab.