Excel formulas and functions can be extremely useful. Whether you're computing advanced mathematical concepts on multiple sheets or just want to streamline your budget, you can use formulas and functions in Excel to make your life easier. Follow these steps to learn how to use Excel formulas and functions.
In order to use Excel formulas and functions, you will need:
- Computer with Excel installed (likely packed with some version of Microsoft Office)
- Familiarize yourself with basic functions and the concept of formulas. According to Microsoft, there are well over 300 functions present in Excel. Of course, as there are seeminly countless variations to formulas (think mathematical formulas, which is very wide), there are an amazing number of options.
- Locate the cells that you are working with and what you want to do. As you get used to working with functions and formulas in Excel, you will get more comfortable with planning in in terms of placement. Let's take an example: you have your income in column C and your expenses in column D – the results (of step 4) will go into cells in the E column.
- To use a function, use the equal sign (=) and then type the formula, followed by the parameters. Following our previous example, we want to add up both columns for income and expenses. Type: "=SUM(C3:C20)" The sum is one of many functions that you can use. Inside the parenthesis, you will find the range, as the income begins in C3 and down to C20 (you can use blank cells, for future inclusion which will be updated automatically). If you do the same thing for the next column and put them in cells C22 and D22, you will have used the SUM function.
- Perform a formula similarly. This works much the same, except we are using a formula. We'll use a very simple formula to calculate the total balance for the month. Type this in cell E22: "=C22-D22" You now have a basic formula that could work in a budgeting situation. To add more to the formula, you could, for instance, enclose the original in parenthesis and then multiply by .1: "=(C22-D22)*.1" This could figure out 10% of your income to donate, for illustrative purposes.
You can complicate the formulas and functions as needed. There are plenty of functions and formulas in Excel to keep you busy and take care of needs you may have in the program.