Advertising
Advertising

5 Powerful Excel Functions That Make Work Easier

5 Powerful Excel Functions That Make Work Easier

If you’ve just started learning how to use Microsoft Excel, you’ll probably have a lot of questions to ask about the functions of the program. Because let’s face it, despite being exceptionally useful, Excel can be a very complicated application. It’s like a hammer when your most frustrating reporting tasks at work resemble nails.

Aside from great Excel features such as flash fill, pivot tables, and conditional formatting, Excel also has a lot of powerful functions that will help save time when creating spreadsheets. Invest some time in learning to use Excel so you can prepare and manage complex reports, as well as perform what-if analysis on data like a pro!

To help you get started, here are 5 important Excel functions you should learn today.

1. The SUM Function

The sum function is the most used function when it comes to computing data on Excel. This function works to sum a group of numbers in a specific set of cells. This means you don’t need to type a long cumbrous formula just to calculate the sum of all the data you need. Because of its popularity, newer versions of Microsoft Excel have a button specifically for this function.

This function is performed by typing the formula on the function bar and highlighting the cells you want summed before clicking “Enter”. You also need to be careful in highlighting cells, as Excel will sum everything you include. If this happens, you can easily click the “Undo” button to reset the values back to its original state.

Advertising

SUM function

    The syntax formula for sum function is “=SUM” (number1, number2, etc.).

    In this image, the sum function for the cells C2 through C7 is obtained through the formula “=SUM(C2:C7)”, giving you the result of 33161.

    2. The TEXT Function

    Text function is a useful tool that helps convert a date (or number) into a text string in a particular format. It falls in the category of string formulas that converts numerical values to a string. It is handy when users need to view numeric data in a readable format. Take note that the “TEXT” formula only works to convert numeric values to text. Therefore, its results cannot be calculated.

    Advertising

    TEXT FUNCTION

      The syntax formula for text function is “=TEXT” (value, format_text).

      • “Value” refers to the particular number you wish to convert to text.
      • “Format_text” defines the format of the conversion.

      In this example, the user uses a text formula to find the abbreviated day for the date “=TEXT (B2, “ddd”)”.

      3. The VLOOKUP Function

      VLookup is powerful Excel function that is often overlooked. Users will find it useful when they need to find specific data on a large table. You can also use VLookup to search for names, phone number, or specific data on your sheet. Instead of manually looking for the names and wasting time scrolling through hundreds of data, the VLookup function makes this process faster and more efficient.

      vlookup

        Image: spreadsheeto.com

        Advertising

        The VLookup formula is “=VLOOKUP” (lookup_value, table_array, col_index_num, *range_lookup*).

        • “lookup_value” is the data you want to find.
        • “table_array” is the data column where you want to limit your search.
        • “col_index_num” is the column number within the table that you want to return a value from.
        • “range_lookup” is an optional argument that allows you to search for the exact match of your lookup value without sorting the table.

        4. The AVERAGE Function

        The average function is an extremely useful tool for getting the average value in a range of cells. Like the sum function, it is frequently used in computing and analyzing data on spreadsheet. Basically, the average function works to find the “arithmetic mean” for a group of cells. Aside from the average function, Excel also has the median and mode function.

        Average Function

          The syntax formula for the average function is “AVERAGE” (number1, number2, etc.).

          • “Number 1” refers to the first number in the range where you want the average.
          • “Number 2” is the additional reference of the average range. You can get an average of up to a maximum of 255 cells.

          Additional ­­Examples:

          Advertising

          “=AVERAGE (A2:A10)” – computes the average of numbers in cells A2 through A10.

          “=AVERAGE (B2: B10, 7)” – computes the average of the numbers in cells B2 through B10 and the number 7.

          5. The CONCATENATE Function

          This function is a good time saver when you need to combine data from 2 or more cells. Unlike the merge tool which physically merges two or more cells into a single cell, the concatenate function only combines the contents of the combined cells. In the latest version of Excel ( 2016), the concatenate function has been replaced with concat function and will be incorporated in more future versions of Excel.

          Average Function

            The syntax formula for the concatenate function is “CONCATENATE” (text1, [text2…text_n]),

            • “Text1, Text2…text_n” are the data you want to combine.

            More by this author

            Armela Escalona

            Freelance Writer

            9 Beautiful Journals for People Who Love To Take Notes 7 Ways To Fix Damaged Hair and Get Your Healthy Hair Back How To Design Your Bedroom the Feng Shui Way 5 Tools to Create a Professional Website for Free 5 Best Professional E-commerce Store Builders

            Trending in Productivity

            1 The Lifehack Show Episode 8: On Personal Success 2 15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done 3 50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success 4 How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques 5 15 Inspiring Journal Ideas to Set You up for Success

            Read Next

            Advertising
            Advertising
            Advertising

            Last Updated on September 18, 2019

            15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

            15 Best Organizing Tips For Office Organization and Getting More Done

            You may think that you don’t have time for office organization, but if you really knew how much time that disorganization cost you, you’d reconsider.

            Rearranging and moving piles occasionally doesn’t count. Neither does clearing off your desk, if you swipe the mess into a bin, or a desk drawer.

            A relatively neat and orderly office space clears the way for higher productivity and less wasted time.

            Organizing your office doesn’t have to take days, it can be done a little at a time. In fact, maintaining an organized office is much more effective if you treat it like an on-going project, instead of a massive assault.

            So, if you’re ready to get started, the following organizing tips will help you transform your office into an efficient workspace.

            1. Purge Your Office

            De-clutter, empty, shred, get rid of everything that you don’t need or want. Look around. What haven’t you used in a while?

            Take one area at a time. If it doesn’t work, send it out for repair or toss it. If you haven’t used it in months and can’t think of when you’ll actually need it, out it goes. This goes for furniture, equipment, supplies, etc.

            Advertising

            Don’t forget about knick-knacks, plants (real or artificial), and decorations – if they’re covered with dust and make your office look shabby, they’re fair game.

            2. Gather and Redistribute

            Gather up every item that isn’t where it belongs and put it where it does.

            3. Establish Work “Zones”

            Decide what type of activity happens in each area of your office. You’ll probably have a main workspace (most likely your desk,) a reference area (filing cabinet, shelves, binders,) and a supply area (closet, shelves or drawers.)

            Place the appropriate equipment and supplies are located in the proper area as much as possible.

            4. Close Proximity

            Position the equipment and supplies that you use most within reach. Things that you rarely use can be stored or put away.

            5. Get a Good Labeler

            Choose a label maker that’s simple to use. Take the time to label shelves, bins, baskets drawers. Not only will it remind you where things go, but it will also help others who may have a need to find, use, or put away anything in your workspace.

            6. Revise Your Filing System

            As we move fully into the digital age, the need to store paper files has decreased.

            Advertising

            What can your store digitally? Are you duplicating files? You may be able to eliminate some of the files and folders you’ve used in the past. If you’re storing files on your computer, make sure you are doing regular back-ups.

            Here’re some storage ideas for creating a smooth filing system:

            • Create a meeting folder – Put all “items to be discussed” in there along with items that need to be handed off, reports that need to be given, etc. It’ll help you be prepared for meetings and save you stress in the even that a meeting is moved up.
            • Create a WOR folder – So much of our messy papers are things that are on hold until someone else responds or acts. Corral them in a WOR (Waiting on Response) folder. Check it every few days for outstanding actions you may need to follow-up on.
            • Storage boxes – Use inexpensive storage boxes to keep archived files and get them out of your current file space.
            • Magazine boxes – Use magazine boxes or binders to store magazines and catalogs you really want to store. Please make sure you really need them for reference or research, otherwise recycle them, or give away.
            • Reading folder – Designate a file for print articles and documents you want to read that aren’t urgent.
            • Archive files – When a project is complete, put all of the materials together and file them away. Keep your “working folders” for projects in progress.
            • File weekly – Don’t let your filing pile up. Put your papers in a “To File” folder and file everything once a week.

            Learn more tips on organizing your files here: How to Organize Your Files for Better Productivity

            7. Clear off Your Desk

            Remove everything, clean it thoroughly and put back only those items that are essential for daily use.

            If you have difficulty declutter stuff, this Declutter Formula will help you throw away stuff without regretting later.

            8. Organize your Desktop

            Now that you’ve streamlined your desktop, it’s a good idea to organize it.

            Use desktop organizers or containers to organize the items on your desk. Use trays for papers, containers for smaller items.

            Advertising

            Don’t forget your computer desktop! Make sure the files or images are all in organized folders. I’d recommend you clear your computer desktop everyday before you leave work.

            9. Organize Your Drawers

            Put items used together in the same drawer space, stamps with envelopes, sticky pads with notepads, etc.

            Use drawer organizers for little items – paper clips, tacks, etc. Use a separate drawer for personal items.

            10. Separate Inboxes

            If you work regularly with other people, create a folder, tray, or inbox for each.

            11. Clear Your Piles

            Hopefully with your new organized office, you won’t create piles of paper anymore, but you still have to sort through the old ones.

            Go through the pile (a little at a time if necessary) and put it in the appropriate place or dump it.

            12. Sort Mails

            Don’t just stick mail in a pile to be sorted or rifle through and take out the pieces you need right now. Sort it as soon as you get it – To act, To read, To file, To delegate or hand off. .

            Advertising

            13. Assign Discard Dates

            You don’t need to keep every piece of paper indefinitely. Mark on files or documents when they can be tossed or shredded.

            Some legal or financial documents must be kept for specified length of time. Make sure you know what those requirements are.

            14. Filter Your Emails

            Some emails are important to read, others are just not that important.

            When you use the filter system to label different types of emails, you know their priority and which to reply first.

            Take a look at these tips to achieve inbox zero: The Ultimate Way to get to Inbox Zero

            15. Straighten Your Desk

            At the end of the day, do a quick straighten, so you have a clean start the next day.

            Bottom Line

            Use one tip or try them all. The amount of effort you put into creating and maintaining an efficient work area will pay off in a big way.

            Instead of spending time looking for things and shuffling piles, you’ll be able to spend your time…well…working and you’ll enjoy being clutter free!

            More Organizing Hacks

            Featured photo credit: Alesia Kazantceva via unsplash.com

            Read Next