 # Excel Functions - Powerful tools to aid calculations

Excel Functions are extensively used in calculations under different situations and help various fields. They can be broadly classified under the following categories:  Financial, Math/Trigonometry,  Statistical.  Date/Time, Information, Logical, Lookup/Reference, Text, Engineering, and Database functions.

Excel functions contain defined parameters to suit calculation requirements under various categories. Most of them are preset formulas based on requirements expected in different fields.   They can be simple in nature just to help to do quick calculations like sum, average, and count, for a range of cells. There are also complicated advanced functions like the IRR.

The Excel functions have a standard mechanism in which the requirements must be defined in order to derive the required return. So, understanding the way the various required parameters must be fed into the function formula is very essential to get the correct output. The way the function is written is called the syntax. If we want the result of a function to be returned in a cell, we should start by typing =, then the function name (say, AVERAGE), followed by the Arguments within parenthesis. Then by typing enter, we allow the function to perform the calculation as pre-defined and return the result.

For example,

=Average (C1:C20) helps calculate the average of the numbers in the range C1 to C20.

Arguments can refer to both individual cells and cell ranges and we can include one argument or multiple arguments, depending on the syntax required for the function.

The knowledge about how to enter the arguments is very important because Excel will not always warn us if wrong results are returned when we have entered the parameters which are undesirable.

Our section under functions explains all the major functions in MS Excel in simple language.