Build Dashboards to Monitor Performance with Excel

Do you want to learn how to use Excel formulas and functions? With this beginner’s guide, you’ll be an expert in no time! Just follow these simple steps and you’ll be using Excel like a pro and become expert in excel.

Formulas and Functions: What’s the Difference? 

When you’re first learning how to use Excel, it’s easy to get formulas and functions confused. After all, they both help you calculate values in your spreadsheet, right? While that’s true, there is one key difference between formulas and functions:

Formulas are used when you know the specific values that you want to calculate. For example, if you have a list of your company’s sales figures for the past year, you can use a formula to calculate the total amount of sales. 

Functions are used when you want to extract or return data from another part of your spreadsheet. For example, if you have a list of your employees’ birthdays, you can use a function to extract all of the birthdays that fall in the month of June. 

Now that we’ve got that clear, let’s take a closer look at each one. 

How to Use Excel Formulas 

Excel formulas are relatively simple to use. Just type an equal sign (=) followed by the values that you want to calculate. For example, let’s say that we want to add up all of the sales figures from our example above. We would just need to type =SUM(A1:A12) into any cell. The SUM function will then add up all of the values in cells A1 through A12 and return the result in the cell where we typed our formula. Pretty neat, right? 

You can also use formulas to perform more complex calculations, like finding the average or median value of a range of cells. And if you ever need help Remember, just click on any cell that contains a formula and then press F1 on your keyboard—Excel will bring up a handy help window with information on how to use that particular formula. 

How to Use Excel Functions 

Like we said before, functions are used when you want to return data from another part of your spreadsheet—usually based on some sort of criteria. Let’s say that we want to know how many employees have their birthday in June so that we can plan a party for them. We would first need to create two columns in our spreadsheet: one for names and one for birthdays. Then, we would need to insert a function into the cell next to each employee’s name. The function we would use is called COUNTIF, and it looks like this: =COUNTIF(B2:B11,”6/”). This function will search through the range of cells B2 through B11 (which is where we have our employees’ birthdays) and count how many cells contain “6/”, which is Excel’s code for the month of June. 

Once we’ve inserted this function next to each employee’s name, all we need to do is hit Enter and voilà! We’ll instantly see how many employees have their birthday in June so that we can start planning that party. Easy as pie! 

Conclusion: Using Excel formulas and functions is simpler than you might think—and once you know how, you’ll be able turn boring data into meaningful information in no time flat! So what are you waiting for? Give it a try today!

Antonio Carter
Emily Carter: Emily, a trained environmental journalist, brings a wealth of expertise to her blog posts on environmental news and climate change. Her engaging style and fact-checked reporting make her a respected voice in environmental journalism.