Basic Functions You Must Know in MS Excel

Basic Functions In MS excel

Microsoft Excel, commonly known as MS Excel, is a spreadsheet program that Microsoft developed for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android. It has all the functions of a spreadsheet, including cells arranged in lettered-columns and numbered-rows that help organize data and perform basic arithmetic operations.

Excel’s primary function helps perform calculations on your data and represent them in a visual form for easier understanding and interpretations. Advanced functions of MS Excel allow its users to perform statistical analysis, financial analysis and even draw predictions and visualize trends.

When we talk about solving numerical problems, calculating numbers, or engineering problems, Microsoft Excel is a very powerful tool. Apart from the functions mentioned above, MS Excel is also used by companies to make employee work schedules, manage shipments, keep a tab of the work done, and many more things.

Basic Terms in Excel Everyone Should Know

Let us start by looking at the basic terms in Excel. The two primary ways in which we can perform calculations in Excel are functions and formulas.

What is a function in excel?

Functions are a set of predefined formulas in Excel. They eliminate manual entry for every formula and give them easy-to-remember names. For example, to perform addition, we use the function= SUM(A1:A2), which adds all the values in cells A1 and A2.

What is a formula in excel?

Formulas can be called an expression that performs operations on values in the cells or range of cells. For example, if we want to perform addition on the values present in cells A1 and A2, we can use =A1+A2, which will help us find the sum of the values present in these two cells.


Top 10 Basic Functions Of MS Excel

1.  SUM

Sum is the most basic and useful function in Excel. It is the addition of all the selected cells, either in rows or columns.

Formula: =Sum(Num1,Num2)


=Sum(A2:F2) – the addition of cells in the row from A2 to F2

=Sum(B2:B8) – the addition of cells in the column from B2 to B8

=Sum(A3:A9, A12)- the addition of cells from A3 to A9 and then skipping a few cells and adding cell A12 


The average function calculates the average value of the selected cells.

Formula: =average(num1,num2)


=Average(A2:A8) – This function adds up all the values from A2 to A8 and divides them by 7

If we take a closer look at this function, the formula used here is =(SUM(A2: A8)/7), which adds up all the values from A2 to A8 and divides them by 7, which in turn gives us the average of the selected cells.

3. MAX & MIN

The MAX & MIN function helps you find the minimum and maximum number in the selected cells.




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The count function counts all the numeric values in the selected cells.

Formula: =Count(value1,value2)


=count(A:A) – counts all the numerical values in column A. However, you can customize the cells you need according to your requirement.

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Similar to COUNT function, COUNTA counts all the selected cell values. But unlike COUNT, which only counts numerical values, COUNTA counts strings, times, dates, errors, logical values, text, or empty strings

Formula : =COUNTA(value1,value2)


=counta(B2:B8) – counts all the value from B2 to B8

6. IF

The IF function is used when you want to sort your data according to a certain logic.

Formula: =IF(logical_test, [value_if_true], [value_if_false])


=IF(C5<F5) – Checks if the value of C5 is lower than F5. If the logic is correct, then the cell value stays or else false.


The trim function ensures that there are no unnecessary spaces left in the cell. TRIM function only works on a single cell.

Formula: =TRIM(text)


=TRIM(B5)- Removes spaces from cell B5

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8. LEN

The LEN function provides you the length of strings in a specific cell; it also counts characters in a number.

Formula: =LEN(text)


=LEN(C5)- counts the length of the characters in the cell C5

9. AND & OR

AND function returns true if all of the arguments evaluate to true. OR function Returns true if any of the given arguments evaluates to true.


=AND(logic 1, logic 2)

=OR(logic 1, logic 2)


=AND(B3>35, B3=C3) – Returns true if B3 is greater than 35 and B3 is equal to C3, FALSE otherwise.

=AND(A3=”Apples”, B3>=35, B3>C3) – returns true if A3 contains “Apples”, B3 is greater than or equal to 35 and B3 is greater than C3, FALSE otherwise

=OR(B3>=45, C3>=25)- It will return true if B3 is greater than or equal to 45 or C3 is greater than or equal to 25, FALSE otherwise


These functions are used to view the current date and time when you open a spreadsheet in Excel.





=today()- will show you the current date in that cell

=now() – will display the current date and time in the cell.

These essential functions will help you quickly work with MS Excel and perform all the required basic operations with ease. Once you master these basic functions of Excel, feel free to study the more advanced Excel functions.

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