Essential Excel Functions and How To use Them

Why is Excel Better Than Using Pen and Paper?

If you are adding a list of numbers, you do each calculation at once. What if I said you can tell the piece of paper how to add once, and repeat it the whole way down?

Excel let’s us work with big (or small) sets of numbers and allows for manipulation to be EASY, CLEAN, and REPEATABLE. This repeatable word is extremely important, it is the root of automation.

If you want to be part of the future – these are concepts you should be familiar with. Excel is a great tool to get started with that!

Quick Pre-Lesson How to Type a Formula

tab function select neutron dev

Hit tab when function you want is selected or “blue”.


rundown excel formula rundown

A full rundown on Excel formulas in 15 seconds.


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The “fx” bar lets you step into your formula.


Essential Functions

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=SUM(): If you want to add any amount of numbers. Hold CTRL to select multiple ranges.
=COUNT(): Returns how many items are in a selection. Helpful for getting a feel for data.


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=AVERAGE(): Add them up, divide it by how many there were.
=MEDIAN(): List all the numbers in order, and take the middle one.


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=MIN() : Returns the lowest number in range.
=MAX() : Returns the highest number in range.


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=LEN() : Tells you how many characters are in the cell.
=REPT() : Will repeat a cell value a specified amount of times.


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=LEFT() : Returns specified amount of characters starting from leftmost.
=RIGHT() : Returns specified amount of characters starting from rightmost.


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=CONCATENATE() : Will combine cells text.
You can add [,”insert text”,] to add more text in between.


Closing Thoughts

Now that we are getting more comfortable with Excel, I figure next time I can show you some real life analysis.

I have been collecting some good data from my Google Analytics on the traffic of my website, so technically it will be my first post about you!

Stay tuned to learning about converting Google Analytics data into actionable signals through the power of Excel!

I aim to have the freshest Excel content for you.

If you ever have any suggestions please do not hesitate to contact me.

[This article has been originally posted on Everything Excel]

Thomas Sullivan
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Thomas Sullivan

Born and raised in Arlington MA, I like where I am. The economy is trending to a gig economy so let’s work together to learn, create and capitalize on it. I am here to deliver the most effective Excel tutorials on the world wide web.
I received my Industrial Engineering degree from Northeastern University, and focused on Mathematics. I have worked, co-op’d, or done contract work for Raytheon, SpaceX, EMC, Cengage Learning, Man Group and more. I bring an objectivity that a process is a process and believe in continuous improvement.
Thomas Sullivan
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  • Calvin Hansen

    Great intro tutorial, Thomas. Looking forward to more Excel tutorials! What’s next?