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Introducing Excel formulas and functions

From: Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

Video: Introducing Excel formulas and functions

Many Excel commentators, myself included, tend to use the terms function and formula as if they mean the same thing. In fact, functions and formulas are quite distinct. In this lesson, I'll describe the difference between formulas and functions and show you how both workbook elements help you summarize your data. To start out, a formula is a statement you enter into an Excel worksheet's cell that calculates a value. In Excel, you'll always begin a formula by typing an Equal sign. When you do, Excel knows that it should treat the rest of the text you type into the cell as part of a formula.

Introducing Excel formulas and functions

Many Excel commentators, myself included, tend to use the terms function and formula as if they mean the same thing. In fact, functions and formulas are quite distinct. In this lesson, I'll describe the difference between formulas and functions and show you how both workbook elements help you summarize your data. To start out, a formula is a statement you enter into an Excel worksheet's cell that calculates a value. In Excel, you'll always begin a formula by typing an Equal sign. When you do, Excel knows that it should treat the rest of the text you type into the cell as part of a formula.

As an example, if you wanted to type in the formula =1+2 and then press Return, Excel would calculate the value 3. You can also refer to worksheet cells in a formula. In this worksheet, I have values in cells B3 and B4. I'm going to get rid of the formula in cell E2 by pressing the Delete key, and now I'll click in cell B5. If I wanted to find the sum of the two values in B3 and B4, I could type =B3+B4, and I tend to type in capital letters, but it doesn't matter; lowercase, uppercase - it's exactly the same.

You'll notice that when I typed in the formula, the cell reference for B4 is in green, and you'll also notice that cell B4 in the worksheet is outlined in green. B3 appears in blue, and that cell is outlined in blue. When I press Return, Excel calculates the sum of the values in these two cells. If you click the cell which contains the value, you'll see the value within the cell, but up on the formula bar, you will see the formula. Now let's say you want to perform a slightly more advanced calculation, such as finding the average of these two values.

To do that, you could type in this formula, which is =(B3+B4). There are two cells. We're finding an average, so we divide by 2. When you press Return, Excel finds the average of those two values, which is 1,537,000. The problem is that it takes a long time to type in that formula, and it's only practical to create formulas by hand for very simple mathematical operations. There is a much easier way, and that is to use functions. A function is a built-in set of steps, or an algorithm, that Excel can follow to find a result.

To find the average of the values in cells B3 and B4, you would type an Equal sign, indicating you're creating a formula, and then you can type in the function name AVERAGE. Once you've typed in the function name, you can type a left parenthesis, which is Shift+9 or capital 9, the way that I think of it. And then type in the reference to the cells that you want to average. In this case, it's B3. Then you use a colon to indicate a range of cells, and then B4. I'll cover cell references in more depth in a later movie in this chapter.

When you're done identifying the cells you want to summarize using the Average function, you close using a right parenthesis, press return and Excel finds the value. Those were the basics of how formulas and functions work in Excel. In future movies, we'll explore formulas and functions in more depth.

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This video is part of

Image for Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training
Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

100 video lessons · 29673 viewers

Curt Frye
Author

 
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  1. 1m 58s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 20m 56s
    1. Exploring the Excel 2011 window
      4m 16s
    2. Introducing the Ribbon for Mac
      4m 44s
    3. Customizing the Ribbon
      4m 20s
    4. Setting program preferences
      3m 20s
    5. Getting help in Excel
      4m 16s
  3. 20m 4s
    1. Opening, creating, and saving workbooks
      5m 23s
    2. Setting workbook properties
      4m 14s
    3. Creating and modifying workbook templates
      4m 18s
    4. Managing workbooks across multiple versions of Excel
      6m 9s
  4. 1h 2m
    1. Selecting cells and groups of cells
      4m 58s
    2. Copying and pasting cell data
      2m 39s
    3. Entering data using AutoFill and other techniques
      4m 32s
    4. Inserting symbols and special characters
      5m 3s
    5. Creating an Excel table
      4m 43s
    6. Locating and changing data using Find and Replace
      4m 57s
    7. Restricting input using validation rules
      4m 42s
    8. Using lists to limit data entered into a cell
      2m 32s
    9. Sorting worksheet data
      3m 2s
    10. Creating a custom sort order
      3m 54s
    11. Filtering worksheet data
      4m 6s
    12. Inserting, moving, and deleting cells and cell ranges
      3m 50s
    13. Splitting and freezing rows and columns
      3m 51s
    14. Managing worksheets
      5m 28s
    15. Creating, editing, and deleting headers and footers
      4m 41s
  5. 1h 17m
    1. Introducing Excel formulas and functions
      3m 17s
    2. Adding a formula to a cell
      4m 0s
    3. Introducing arithmetic operators
      4m 13s
    4. Using absolute and relative cell references
      6m 29s
    5. Controlling how Excel copies and pastes formulas
      6m 5s
    6. Referring to Excel table data in formulas
      2m 3s
    7. Creating an AutoSum formula
      3m 22s
    8. Summarizing data on the status bar
      2m 22s
    9. Joining text in cells with concatenation
      3m 59s
    10. Summarizing data using an IF function
      6m 21s
    11. Summarizing data using SUMIF and other conditional functions
      5m 41s
    12. Creating formulas to count cells
      2m 37s
    13. Rounding cell values up and down
      4m 55s
    14. Finding data using VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP
      6m 33s
    15. Auditing formulas by identifying precedents and dependents
      3m 25s
    16. Managing Excel formula error indicators
      4m 42s
    17. Managing scenarios
      4m 59s
    18. Performing Goal Seek analysis
      2m 31s
  6. 45m 48s
    1. Applying fonts, background colors, and borders
      6m 7s
    2. Applying number and date formats to cells
      7m 1s
    3. Managing text alignment
      3m 56s
    4. Copying cell formats
      4m 2s
    5. Managing cell styles
      3m 16s
    6. Managing Office themes
      3m 31s
    7. Creating rule-based conditional formats
      3m 54s
    8. Defining Top 10 conditional formats
      4m 19s
    9. Defining data bar, color scale, and icon set conditional formats
      6m 6s
    10. Editing, ordering, and deleting conditional formats
      3m 36s
  7. 36m 55s
    1. Creating bar and column charts
      5m 26s
    2. Creating pie charts
      2m 32s
    3. Creating line charts
      4m 34s
    4. Creating XY (scatter) charts
      1m 49s
    5. Creating stock charts
      4m 11s
    6. Changing chart types and layouts
      2m 22s
    7. Changing the appearance of a chart
      4m 25s
    8. Managing chart axes and numbering
      2m 51s
    9. Adding trendlines to charts
      4m 14s
    10. Creating sparkline charts
      4m 31s
  8. 18m 39s
    1. Importing data from comma separated value (CSV) or text files
      4m 20s
    2. Connecting to an external data source
      2m 22s
    3. Using hyperlinks
      6m 1s
    4. Including an Excel workbook in another Office document
      3m 5s
    5. Linking to an Excel chart from another Office program
      2m 51s
  9. 26m 21s
    1. Creating and formatting shapes
      3m 10s
    2. Adding and adjusting images
      5m 38s
    3. Cropping, compressing, and removing image backgrounds
      4m 46s
    4. Creating SmartArt graphics
      5m 7s
    5. Creating WordArt
      2m 34s
    6. Aligning and layering objects
      5m 6s
  10. 29m 51s
    1. Introducing PivotTable reports
      3m 47s
    2. Creating a PivotTable report
      4m 37s
    3. Pivoting a PivotTable report
      3m 18s
    4. Managing subtotals and grand totals
      3m 23s
    5. Summarizing more than one data field
      1m 34s
    6. Changing the data field summary operation
      2m 40s
    7. Changing the data field number format
      2m 27s
    8. Filtering a PivotTable report
      2m 46s
    9. Applying a PivotTable style
      2m 20s
    10. Creating and editing styles
      2m 59s
  11. 26m 47s
    1. Checking spelling
      3m 32s
    2. Setting AutoCorrect and automatic Replace options
      3m 59s
    3. Managing workbook comments
      3m 40s
    4. Tracking and reviewing changes
      5m 12s
    5. Printing a worksheet or workbook
      3m 44s
    6. Setting and removing print areas
      2m 31s
    7. Exporting to other formats
      1m 33s
    8. Protecting a workbook
      2m 36s
  12. 23m 52s
    1. Running an existing macro
      4m 56s
    2. Recording a macro
      3m 56s
    3. Recording a macro using relative references
      6m 15s
    4. Renaming, viewing, and deleting macros
      2m 58s
    5. Adding comments to a macro
      2m 43s
    6. Turning off screen updating in a macro
      3m 4s
  13. 1m 1s
    1. Additional resources
      1m 1s

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