In this video, learn about the difference between formulas and functions and discover how both workbook elements help you summarize your data.
- [Instructor] Many Excel users, myself included, tend to use the terms function and formula, as if they meant the same thing. In fact, functions and formulas are quite distinct. In this movie, I'll describe the difference between formulas and functions, and show you how both workbook elements help you summarize your data. As my sample file, I will use the Introducing workbook, which you can find in the Chapter 5 folder of the Exercise Files collection. A formula is a statement that you type into an Excel worksheet cell that calculates a value.
In Excel, you always begin a formula by typing an equals sign, which I will do here in cell B6. When you do, Excel knows that it should treat the rest of the text that you type into the cell as part of a formula, and there are different ways that you can construct your formula. For example, I could continue the formula in B6 by typing in the values that I want to add. I won't use an example from this worksheet, but lets just say that I want to add 13+19, and press Return, and I get 32, in this case dollars, because I had formatted cell B6 that way.
You can also use cell references. So I'll use the up arrow key to go back to B6, type an = sign, and lets say that I want to add B4 and B5, which are my two years of revenue for 2017 and 2018. So I'll type B4+B5, and you can see that I have my cell references, press Return, and I get my total. Now lets say that I want to find the average of the values in B4 and B5. To do that, in cell B7, which was highlighted after I pressed Return, I'll type an =, then a (, and then B4+B5, close out the parenthesis, and then divide, which is the forward slash, and then the number two, because I have two values, press Enter, and I get the average.
I can also use a function to calculate the average, so I don't have to count how many values I have, so I'll use the up arrow key to go back to B7, =, and I'll start typing the AVERAGE function name, you can see that a formula auto complete list comes up, and AVERAGE is the top one, it's the most commonly used, or most recently used, press Tab, and now I can identify the cells with the values that I want to have as my average. So I will select cells B4 and B5, which is another way of idenifying them, press Return, and I get the average that I had before.
You can think of the distinction between a formula and a function this way. A formula is a calculation you type into an Excel worksheet cell, while a function is a built-in calculation that gives you an answer based on the values you provide.
- Creating workbooks
- Manipulating cell data
- Sorting, filtering, and managing worksheets
- Using core functions and formulas
- Formatting worksheet elements
- Creating and managing conditional formats
- Working with charts
- Adding images and shapes
- Working with PivotTables
- Exporting workbooks
Skill Level Beginner
What you should know1m 11s
1. Getting Started with Excel
2. Managing Workbooks
3. Working with Worksheets, Cells, and Cell Data
4. Sorting, Filtering, and Managing Worksheets
5. Summarizing Data Using Formulas and Functions
6. Formatting Worksheet Elements
7. Working with Charts
8. Working with External Data and Objects
9. Exploring PivotTables
10. Reviewing and Sharing Spreadsheets
Further information1m 2s
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