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Basic Excel Formulas and Functions

  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 06 Jul, 2021

Excel formulas allow you to identify relationships between values in your spreadsheet’s cells, perform mathematical calculations with those values, and return the resulting value in the cell of your choice. Sum, subtraction, percentage, division, average, and even dates/times are among the formulas that can be performed automatically. For example, =A1+A2+A3+A4+A5, which finds the sum of the range of values from cell A1 to cell A5.

Excel Functions: A formula is a mathematical expression that computes the value of a cell. Functions are predefined formulas that are already in Excel. Functions carry out specific calculations in a specific order based on the values specified as arguments or parameters. For example, =SUM (A1:A10). This function adds up all the values in cells A1 through A10.

How to Insert Formulas in Excel?

This horizontal menu, shown below, in more recent versions of Excel allows you to find and insert Excel formulas into specific cells of your spreadsheet. On the Formulas tab, you can find all available Excel functions in the Function Library:

The more you use Excel formulas, the easier it will be to remember and perform them manually. Excel has over 400 functions, and the number is increasing from version to version. The formulas can be inserted into Excel using the following method:

1. Simple insertion of the formula(Typing a formula in the cell):

Typing a formula into a cell or the formula bar is the simplest way to insert basic Excel formulas. Typically, the process begins with typing an equal sign followed by the name of an Excel function. Excel is quite intelligent in that it displays a pop-up function hint when you begin typing the name of the function.

2. Using the Insert Function option on the Formulas Tab:

If you want complete control over your function insertion, use the Excel Insert Function dialogue box. To do so, go to the Formulas tab and select the first menu, Insert Function. All the functions will be available in the dialogue box.

3. Choosing a Formula from One of the Formula Groups in the Formula Tab:

This option is for those who want to quickly dive into their favorite functions. Navigate to the Formulas tab and select your preferred group to access this menu. Click to reveal a sub-menu containing a list of functions. You can then choose your preference. If your preferred group isn’t on the tab, click the More Functions option — it’s most likely hidden there.

4. Use Recently Used Tabs for Quick Insertion:

If retyping your most recent formula becomes tedious, use the Recently Used menu. It’s on the Formulas tab, the third menu option after AutoSum.

Basic Excel Formulas and Functions:

1. SUM:

The SUM formula in Excel is one of the most fundamental formulas you can use in a spreadsheet, allowing you to calculate the sum (or total) of two or more values. To use the SUM formula, enter the values you want to add together in the following format: =SUM(value 1, value 2,…..).

Example: In the below example to calculate the sum of price of all the fruits, in B9 cell type =SUM(B3:B8). this will calculate the sum of B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, B8 Press “Enter,” and the cell will produce the sum: 430. 


To use the subtraction formula in Excel, enter the cells you want to subtract in the format =SUM (A1, -B1). This will subtract a cell from the SUM formula by appending a negative sign before the cell being subtracted.

For example, if A3 was 300 and B3 was 225, =SUM(A1, -B1) would perform 300 + -225, returning a value of 75 in D3 cell.


In Excel, enter the cells to be multiplied in the format =A3*B3 to perform the multiplication formula. An asterisk is used in this formula to multiply cell A3 by cell B3.

For example, if A3 was 300 and B3 was 225, =A1*B1 would return a value of 67500.

Highlight an empty cell in an Excel spreadsheet to multiply two or more values. Then, in the format =A1*B1…, enter the values or cells you want to multiply together. The asterisk effectively multiplies each value in the formula.

To return your desired product, press Enter. Take a look at the screenshot above to see how this looks.


To use the division formula in Excel, enter the dividing cells in the format =A3/B3. This formula divides cell A3 by cell B3 with a forward slash, “/.”

For example, if A3 was 300 and B3 was 225, =A3/B3 would return a decimal value of 1.333333333.

Division in Excel is one of the most basic functions available. To do so, highlight an empty cell, enter an equals sign, “=,” and then the two (or more) values you want to divide, separated by a forward slash, “/.” The output should look like this: =A3/B3, as shown in the screenshot above.


The AVERAGE function finds an average or arithmetic mean of numbers. to find the average of the numbers type = AVERAGE(A3.B3,C3….) and press ‘Enter’ it will produce average of the numbers in the cell.

For example, if A3 was 300, B3 was 225, C3 was 180, D3 was 350, E3 is 400 then =AVERAGE(A3,B3,C3,D3,E3) will produce 291.

6. IF formula:

In Excel, the IF formula is denoted as =IF(logical test, value if true, value if false). This lets you enter a text value into a cell “if” something else in your spreadsheet is true or false.

For example, You may need to know which values in column A are greater than three. Using the =IF formula, you can quickly have Excel auto-populate a “yes” for each cell with a value greater than 3 and a “no” for each cell with a value less than 3.


To use the percentage formula in Excel, enter the cells you want to calculate the percentage for in the format =A1/B1. To convert the decimal value to a percentage, select the cell, click the Home tab, and then select “Percentage” from the numbers dropdown.

There isn’t a specific Excel “formula” for percentages, but Excel makes it simple to convert the value of any cell into a percentage so you don’t have to calculate and reenter the numbers yourself.

The basic setting for converting a cell’s value to a percentage is found on the Home tab of Excel. Select this tab, highlight the cell(s) you want to convert to a percentage, and then select Conditional Formatting from the dropdown menu (this menu button might say “General” at first). Then, from the list of options that appears, choose “Percentage.” This will convert the value of each highlighted cell into a percentage. This feature can be found further down.


CONCATENATE is a useful formula that combines values from multiple cells into the same cell.

For example , =CONCATENATE(A3,B3) will combine Red and Apple to produce RedApple. 

9. DATE:

DATE is the Excel DATE formula =DATE(year, month, day). This formula will return a date corresponding to the values entered in the parentheses, including values referred to from other cells.. For example, if A2 was 2019, B2 was 8, and C1 was 15, =DATE(A1,B1,C1) would return 15-08-2019.

10. TRIM:

The TRIM formula in Excel is denoted =TRIM(text). This formula will remove any spaces that have been entered before and after the text in the cell. For example, if A2 includes the name ” Virat Kohli” with unwanted spaces before the first name, =TRIM(A2) would return “Virat Kohli” with no spaces in a new cell.

11. LEN:

LEN is the function to count the number of characters in a specific cell when you want to know the number of characters in that cell. =LEN(text) is the formula for this. Please keep in mind that the LEN function in Excel counts all characters, including spaces:

For example,=LEN(A2), returns the total length of the character in cell A2 including spaces.

Attention reader! Don’t stop learning now. If you are an Excel beginner (or an intermediate) and want to learn Excel, Geeksforgeeks brings the perfect course for you to start, Diving Into Excel

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