5 Excel Functions that will make you a data wizard
August 18, 2017
Excel has a lot of features and functionalities that make it a very competitive business intelligence tool.
One thing that makes Excel stand out is its wide variety of Excel functions (while I must admit I am also pretty impressed with what Google Sheets has to offer in terms of functions).
There are close to 450 functions in Excel and there seems to be one for everything.
Now don’t worry about not knowing all these functions. You are never going to need more than a handful of these Excel functions. And most of these function are well covered online and you can find many useful online Excel training to make you proficient in it.
Here are my favorite five Excel functions that would help anyone working with data in Excel.
#1 IF Function
If is a basic formula that checks for a condition and returns a specified value when it’s met. For example, suppose you have a long list of numbers and you have to check whether it is greater than 50 or not.
You can easily do this using the IF function. Here is the syntax:
=IF(A1>50, “Yes”, “No”)
Here A1 has the value and the function checks whether the value is greater than 50 or not. If it is, then it returns Yes, else it returns No.
The power of IF function lies in the fact that you can use multiple IF functions within the IF function itself. This is called nested IFs.
#2 VLOOKUP Function
VLOOKUP function is highly popular Excel function that helps you look through an entire column and fetch the matching value from the specified column.
The V in the VOOKUP stands for vertical as it goes down the vertical column and looks for the specified value. There is also the HLOOKUP function, but VLOOKUP is the one you should focus on, to begin with.
#3 SUMIF Function
There is a basic SUM function in Excel that would simply add all the numbers in the specified range. SUMIF takes it a step further allows the user to add the values based on a certain condition.
For example, if you want to add all the sales value for a sales rep named Paul, then you can do that by specifying it as the condition.
#4 MIN/MAX Functions
MIN/MAX functions – as the name suggests – would find the maximum or the minimum value from a given range. These are really helpful when you want to find out the outliers in your data set.
#5 COUNTIF Function
COUNTIF function is similar to SUMIF. It counts the values in a given range when the specified condition is met. For example, if I want to find out how many times did Paul made a sale, I can specify the condition to be Paul and then count the total number of occurrences.
These are my top five Excel functions. It’s something that I use on a daily basis. This is no way enough to get the work done and sooner or later you will have to learn some other awesome functions as well, however, this should be a good starting point if you’re a beginner in Excel.