Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that is used by millions of people worldwide. It is a spreadsheet program that allows users to organise, manipulate, and analyse data. One of the most important features of Excel is its ability to perform calculations using formulas.
Excel formulas are a set of instructions that tell Excel what to do with the data in a particular cell or range of cells. There are many different formulas that can be used in Excel, each with its own unique purpose. Some formulas are used more frequently than others, and in this article, we will take a look at the most commonly used Excel formulas.
Whether you are a beginner or an advanced Excel user, understanding these formulas can help you to work more efficiently and effectively with your data. From basic arithmetic operations to complex statistical calculations, these formulas can help you to save time and improve the accuracy of your work. So, let’s dive in and explore the most commonly used Excel formulas.
SUM Function
The
SUM
function is one of the
most commonly used Excel formulas
. It is used to add up values, cells, and/or a range of values in a single cell. The formula is very simple and easy to use. The
SUM
function takes either a value, a cell or a range of cells as its argument and returns the sum of the values in those cells.
For example, if you want to add up the values in the range of cells from A1 to A5, you would use the following formula:
=SUM(A1:A5)
This would return the sum of the values in cells A1 to A5.
The
SUM
function can also be used to add up individual values. For example, if you want to add up the values in cells A1, A3 and A5, you would use the following formula:
=SUM(A1,A3,A5)
This would return the sum of the values in cells A1, A3 and A5.
The
SUM
function is very versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications. It is especially useful for financial applications, where it can be used to calculate totals and subtotals.
You can further enhance your total formula by using
SUMIFS
which permits conditions on what aspects of a range are to be used in the calculation of the
SUM
formula.
=SUMIFS(A1:A10,B1:B10,"Product A")
This function adds all the values in
A1:A10
if the values in
B1:B10
contain the text
"Product A"
.
AVERAGE Function
Excel is a powerful tool for performing calculations and data analysis. Another commonly used formula in Excel is the
AVERAGE
function, which calculates the average of a range of numbers. The
AVERAGE
function is useful for calculating the average of a set of values, such as test scores or sales figures.
The syntax for the
AVERAGE
function is simple. To use the function, you simply need to specify the range of cells that you want to average. For example, if you want to calculate the average of the values in cells A1 through A10, you would use the following formula:
=AVERAGE(A1:A10)
The
AVERAGE
function has other similar functions to help perform more complex calculations, especially when filtering the data range.
For example, you can use the
AVERAGEIFS
function to calculate the average of a range of values that meet certain conditions. This can be useful for filtering out outliers or other data that you don’t want to include in your calculations.
=AVERAGEIFS(A1:A10,A1:A10,"<>"&0)
This formula calculates the average of a range in
A1:A10
provided the values in
A1:A10
are not equal to 0
.
MAX Function
The
MAX
function is one of the most commonly used functions in Excel. It is used to find the highest value in a range of cells. The syntax of the
MAX
function is simple, and it can be used in many different ways.
If I wanted to find the highest value of numbers contained within the cells from A1 to A10 then I can use the
MAX
formula with a range as follows:
=MAX(A1:A10)
One of the most common uses of the
MAX
function is to find the highest value in a column of numbers. For example, if you have a list of sales figures for different products, you can use the
MAX
function to find the highest sales figure.
The
MAX
function can also be used to find the highest value between two or more cells.
=MAX(A1,A2,A3)
Another similar type of
MAX
function to find the highest value in a range of cells that
meets certain criteria
is
MAXIFS
. For example, if you have a list of sales figures for different products, you can use the
MAXIFS
function to find the highest sales figure for a specific product.
If you wanted to get the
second
or
nth
largest number you can use the formula
LARGE
which takes a range of values followed by the nth largest number you want to obtain.
For example, if I wanted to find the second largest number in the range from A1 to A10 the formula would be:
=LARGE(A1:A10,2)
The second parameter in the
LARGE
formula is the nth largest number I want to return. Therefore,
MAX(A1:A10) = LARGE(A1:A10,1)
.
MIN Function
The
MIN
function in Excel is another popular formula similar to
MAX
except this time it finds the smallest number according to the range, cells or values entered into the parameters. This function is particularly useful when you need to quickly find the smallest value in a large dataset.
To use the
MIN
function, simply enter it into a cell followed by the range of cells you want to evaluate. For example, if you want to find the smallest value in cells A1 through A10, you would enter this into a cell:
=MIN(A1:A10)
When using the MIN function, it’s important to note that it will only return the smallest value in the range you specify.
If you need to find the
second or third smallest value
, you’ll need to use a different function, such as
SMALL
.
For example, in the range of cells from A1 to A10 if I wanted to find the second smallest value then I would write:
=SMALL(A1:A10,2)
With the number
2
in the second parameter representing the nth smallest number I want to return. Therefore, if I wanted the third smallest number this number
2
would change to
3
.
MIN(A1:A10)
is the equivalent of
SMALL(A1:A10,1)
.
COUNT Function
The
COUNT
function is one of the most commonly used Excel formulas. It is a simple function that counts the number of cells in a range that contains numbers. The
COUNT
function is useful when you want to know how many cells in a range contain
numbers
.
To use the
COUNT
function, you simply need to select the range of cells that you want to count.
=COUNT(A1:A10)
If you want to count how many cells contain
data
(such as numbers, spaces, letters, etc) then use the
COUNTA
formula as follows:
=COUNTA(A1:A10)
If you want to apply conditions on what to COUNT then the most appropriate formula to use would be
COUNTIFS
.
For example, to
COUNT
the values in a range that are
greater than 0
use the
COUNTIFS
formula like so:
=COUNTIFS(A1:A10,">"&0)
IF Function
The IF function is one of the most commonly used conditional functions in Excel. It allows you to test a condition and return one value if the condition is true and another value if the condition is false .
The syntax for the IF function is:
=IF(logical_test, value_if_true, value_if_false)
The
logical_test
is the condition that you want to test. The
value_if_true
is the value that you want to return if the condition is true, and the
value_if_false
is the value that you want to return if the condition is false.
For example, if you want to calculate a bonus for an employee based on their sales, you can use the
IF
function to test if their sales exceed a certain amount:
=IF(A1>5000, 1000, 0)
This formula tests if the sales are greater than 5,000. If they are, it returns 1,000. If not, then it returns
0
.
VLOOKUP Function
One of the most commonly used formulas in Excel is
VLOOKUP
. It is a powerful function that allows you to search for a specific value in a table and return a corresponding value from another column in the same row.
The
VLOOKUP
function has four arguments:
lookup_value
,
table_array
,
col_index_num
, and
range_lookup
.
The
lookup_value
is the value you want to search for in the table. The
table_array
is the range of cells that contains the
lookup_value
and the values you want to return. The
col_index_num
is the column number of the
table_array
where the value you want to return is located (with the first column being number 1, the next column to the right being column 2, etc). Lastly, the
range_lookup
is an optional argument that specifies whether you want an exact match or an approximate match.
Here’s an example of how to use the
VLOOKUP
function:
Product ID  Product Name  Price 

1001  Product A  10.99 
1002  Product B  15.99 
1003  Product C  20.99 
Suppose you have a table like the one above and you want to find the price of Product B. You can use the
VLOOKUP
function like this:
=VLOOKUP(1002, A1:C4, 3, FALSE)
This formula will search for product ID
1002
in the first column of the table (
A2:A4
) and return the corresponding value from the third column (
C2:C4
), which is the price of
Product B
.
HLOOKUP Function
The
HLOOKUP
function is a powerful tool in Excel that allows you to look up a specific value in a row and return a corresponding value from another row. This function is particularly useful when working with large data sets that contain a lot of information.
The syntax for the
HLOOKUP
function is as follows:
=HLOOKUP(lookup_value, table_array, row_index_num, [range_lookup])
The parameters for the
HLOOKUP
function are:

lookup_value
: The value you want to look up. 
table_array
: The range of cells that contains the data you want to search. 
row_index_num
: The row number in the table_array that contains the value you want to return. 
range_lookup
: Optional . A logical value that specifies whether you want an exact match or an approximate match. If omitted, the default value is TRUE (approximate match).
Here is an example of how to use the
HLOOKUP
function:
Product Sales Per Year  2022  2023 
Product A  100  110 
Product B  200  250 
Product C  300  300 
If you want to find the sales for Product A in a particular year, say 2022, you can use the
HLOOKUP
function like this:
=HLOOKUP(2022, A1:C4, 2, FALSE)
This will return a value of 100, which is the total sales of Product A.
CONCATENATE Function
The
CONCATENATE
function is one of the most commonly used functions in Excel. This function allows you to combine text from different cells into one cell. It is particularly useful when you have a large amount of data that needs to be combined into one cell, such as when you are creating a mailing list or a report.
The syntax for the
CONCATENATE
function is simple. You simply need to specify the cells that you want to combine, separated by commas. For example, if you want to combine the text in cells A1 and B1, you would use the following formula:
=CONCATENATE(A1, " ", B1)
This formula will combine the text in cells A1 and B1, with a space between them. You can also add additional text by including it within quotation marks, as shown in the example above.
The
CONCATENATE
function can also be used to combine text with numbers. For example, if you have a list of product codes in column A and prices in column B, you can use the following formula to combine them:
=CONCATENATE("Product Code: ", A1, "  Price: $", B1)
This formula will combine the text “Product Code: ” with the value in cell A1, followed by the text ” – Price: $” and the value in cell B1.
The
CONCATENATE
formula can also be used with its shortened equivalent, the ampersand symbol
&
. Therefore, the equivalent of the last
CONCATENATE
formula above can also be rewritten in a more succinct fashion as follows:
="Product Code: "&A1&"  Price: $"&B1
Conclusion
Excel is an incredibly powerful tool that can help you manage data and make informed decisions. The most commonly used Excel formulas can help you save time and increase productivity. By mastering these formulas, you can become more efficient and effective in your work.
Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user, it’s important to continue learning and exploring the many features and functions of Excel. With practice and dedication, you can become a master of Excel and use it to achieve your goals.