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The simple yet powerful Excel functions you need to know



Power users like to talk about how powerful and ingenious Excel is, what happens with its pivot tables, nested formulas, and Boolean logic. But many of us barely know how to find the Autosum feature, let alone the Excel features for building powerful formulas.

If you're part of Excel 99 percent, there are 16 convenient Excel functions available. How to get to Spreadsheet

= SUM ()

The first function that everyone should know is Excel's basic calculation. For example, suppose you want the numbers in cell A2 and cell B2 in cell C2 to be added together. Just type = SUM (A2: B2) in C2 and press Enter. In an instant you would see the sum of the two cells.

You can use this feature and most of the features listed here to include as many cells as you need. You can also select them with the mouse, but it is much easier to enter a series of cells.

= AVERAGE ()

Average does exactly what it says and works much like SUM. If you have a worksheet with your monthly earnings for the last year in columns A2 to A1

3, enter = AVERAGE (A2: A13) in A14 to get the average of all monthly earnings.

Once again, you can also use your mouse pointer to highlight a series of cells by clicking and dragging, or use Ctrl + Click to manually select individual cells

= MEDIAN () [19659004] The median and the average are often confused, but they are not the same. The median takes a group of numbers such as 2, 6, 15, 31 and 56 (in our example below) and finds the center of the group. In other words, half of the numbers are above the median and the other half below. We compared the median with the average in the screenshot to show the difference.

  Excel Average vs Median Melissa Riofrio / IDG

Average and median are often confused, but this example shows how the average represents a sum of numbers divided by their amount. The median represents a midpoint in the series of numbers, regardless of how they add up.

In order to obtain the median for the above group in column E, we type in formula E [E9007] = MEDIAN (E2: C6) and Enter in cell E7. In our example, the median is 15. If there were an even number of numbers in the series, the median would have been the midpoint between the two middle numbers.

= MIN ()

If you need to find the smallest number in a range of cells, MIN can help. With = MIN (B3: B39) you get the smallest number contained in these cells.

= MAX ()

Max is the counterpart to MIN and the opposite shows you the largest number

= TRIM ()

When you copy text from another program in Excel, it can often get too excessive There are spaces that turn your spreadsheet into a visual horror. TRIM can help you to clean it up.

TRIM can only handle text from a single cell. So start by cleaning up the text in cell B1, for example, by typing = TRIM (B1) in cell C1. The result will be clean text in cell C1. Repeat the function for all other cells that you need to clean up.


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