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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.

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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.

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    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

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        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:

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          “=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.

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            Armela Escalona

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            Last Updated on November 19, 2019

            7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy

            7 Signs That You’re Way Too Busy

            “Busy” used to be a fair description of the typical schedule. More and more, though, “busy” simply doesn’t cut it.

            “Busy” has been replaced with “too busy”, “far too busy”, or “absolutely buried.” It’s true that being productive often means being busy…but it’s only true up to a point.

            As you likely know from personal experience, you can become so busy that you reach a tipping point…a point where your life tips over and falls apart because you can no longer withstand the weight of your commitments.

            Once you’ve reached that point, it becomes fairly obvious that you’ve over-committed yourself.

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            The trick, though, is to recognize the signs of “too busy” before you reach that tipping point. A little self-assessment and some proactive schedule-thinning can prevent you from having that meltdown.

            To help you in that self-assessment, here are 7 signs that you’re way too busy:

            1. You Can’t Remember the Last Time You Took a Day Off

            Occasional periods of rest are not unproductive, they are essential to productivity. Extended periods of non-stop activity result in fatigue, and fatigue results in lower-quality output. As Sydney J. Harris once said,

            “The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

            2. Those Closest to You Have Stopped Asking for Your Time

            Why? They simply know that you have no time to give them. Your loved ones will be persistent for a long time, but once you reach the point where they’ve stopped asking, you’ve reached a dangerous level of busy.

            3. Activities like Eating Are Always Done in Tandem with Other Tasks

            If you constantly find yourself using meal times, car rides, etc. as times to catch up on emails, phone calls, or calendar readjustments, it’s time to lighten the load.

            It’s one thing to use your time efficiently. It’s a whole different ballgame, though, when you have so little time that you can’t even focus on feeding yourself.

            4. You’re Consistently More Tired When You Get up in the Morning Than You Are When You Go to Bed

            One of the surest signs of an overloaded schedule is morning fatigue. This is a good indication that you’ve not rested well during the night, which is a good sign that you’ve got way too much on your mind.

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            If you’ve got so much to do that you can’t even shut your mind down when you’re laying in bed, you’re too busy.

            5. The Most Exercise You Get Is Sprinting from One Commitment to the Next

            It’s proven that exercise promotes healthy lives. If you don’t care about that, that’s one thing. If you’d like to exercise, though, but you just don’t have time for it, you’re too busy.

            If the closest thing you get to exercise is running from your office to your car because you’re late for your ninth appointment of the day, it’s time to slow down.

            Try these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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            6. You Dread Getting up in the Morning

            If your days are so crammed full that you literally dread even starting them, you’re too busy. A new day should hold at least a small level of refreshment and excitement. Scale back until you find that place again.

            7. “Survival Mode” Is Your Only Mode

            If you can’t remember what it feels like to be ahead of schedule, or at least “caught up”, you’re too busy.

            So, How To Get out of Busyness?

            Take a look at these articles to help you get unstuck:

            Featured photo credit: Khara Woods via unsplash.com

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