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

The Function Library

While there are hundreds of functions in Excel, the ones you'll use the most will depend on the type of data your workbooks contain. There's no need to learn every single function, but exploring some of the different types of functions will help you as you create new projects. You can even use the Function Library on the Formulas tab to browse functions by category, such as Financial, Logical, Text, and Date & Time.

To access the Function Library, select the Formulas tab on the Ribbon. Look for the Function Library group.

Click the buttons in the interactive below to learn more about the different types of functions in Excel.

edit hotspotsFunctions Library interactive

Lookup & Reference

The Lookup & Reference category contains functions that will return results for finding and referencing information. For example, you can add a hyperlink to a cell (HYPERLINK) or return the value of a particular row and column intersection (INDEX).

To insert a function from the Function Library:

In the example below, we'll use the COUNTA function to count the total number of items in the Items column. Unlike COUNT, COUNTA can be used to tally cells that contain data of any kind, not just numerical data.

  1. Select the cell that will contain the function. In our example, we'll select cell B17.

    Selecting a cell

  2. Click the Formulas tab on the Ribbon to access the Function Library.
  3. From the Function Library group, select the desired function category. In our example, we'll choose More Functions, then hover the mouse over Statistical.
    Selecting the More Functions / Statistical command
  4. Select the desired function from the drop-down menu. In our example, we'll select the COUNTA function, which will count the number of cells in the Items column that are not empty.
    Choosing the COUNTA function
  5. The Function Arguments dialog box will appear. Select the Value1 field, then enter or select the desired cells. In our example, we'll enter the cell range A3:A12. You may continue to add arguments in the Value2 field, but in this case we only want to count the number of cells in the cell range A3:A12.
  6. When you're satisfied, click OK.
    Function argument
  7. The function will be calculated, and the result will appear in the cell. In our example, the result shows that a total of 10 items were ordered.
    Function result