The Most Used Excel Functions in 2024

 

Essential Excel Functions Every Intermediate User Should Master in 2024

 

Excel has more than 400 built-in functions that can help you perform complex calculations, manipulate text, create reports, templates and analyze data contained in multiple sheets. However, there are a few of them that are the most in-demand by recruiters and professionals due to multiple things users can do with them. Excel learners must focus on these functions to ensure they are ready to work with the spreadsheet.

  • VLOOKUP

The VLOOKUP function finds specific information in a table. It searches for a specific value in the first column of a table and returns the corresponding value in the same row from a specified column. This function is probably the most popular and the most used Excel function so students must know how it works in each different scenario and when to use it.
For example, if you have a table of employee information and you want to find the salary of a specific employee, you can use VLOOKUP to lookup the value. This function can save you a lot of time when dealing with large datasets.
Check here our collection of real VLOOKUP exercises based on real-life cases.

  • INDEX and MATCH functions for advanced lookup and reference

The INDEX and MATCH functions are used together to lookup values in a table. The INDEX function returns the value of a cell in a specified row and column, while the MATCH function returns the position of a value within a range. Together, they can help you find specific data in large tables.
The main difference with VLOOKUP is that INDEX MATCH can lookup the values from right to left and vice versa whereas VLOOKUP can only lookup values to the right.
For example, if you have a table of sales data and you want to find the sales for a specific product in a specific region, you can use INDEX and MATCH to lookup the value. This function is especially useful when dealing with large datasets.

  • SUMIF and COUNTIF functions for conditional calculations

The SUMIF function adds the values in a range that meet a specific criterion, while the COUNTIF function counts the number of cells that meet a specific criterion.
For example, if you have a table of sales data and you want to find the total sales for a specific product, you can use the SUMIF function to add the values in the column that match the product name. This function is especially useful when dealing with data that needs to be analyzed based on specific criteria.

  • IF function for logical tests and decision-making

The IF function performs logical tests and make decisions based on the result. It checks whether a condition is true or false and returns a value based on the result. It is also used in combination with OR”,”AND” or other functions with
For example, if you have a table of employee information and you want to calculate the bonus for each employee based on their performance, you can use the IF function to check if their performance meets the criteria for the bonus. This function is especially useful when dealing with data that needs to be analyzed based on specific criteria.

  • SUM, AVERAGE, and MEDIAN functions for basic math calculations

The SUM function adds the values in a range, the AVERAGE function calculates the average of the values in a range, and the MEDIAN function calculates the median of the values in a range.
For example, if you have a table of sales data and you want to find the total sales, average sales, and median sales, you can use these functions to perform the calculations. These functions are useful for performing basic math calculations quickly and efficiently.

  • SUMPRODUCT and PRODUCT functions for advanced math calculations

The SUMPRODUCT function multiplies the corresponding values in two or more arrays and returns the sum of the products, while the PRODUCT function multiplies the values in a range and returns the product.
For example, if you have a table of sales data and you want to find the total revenue, you can use the SUMPRODUCT function to multiply the sales quantity by the sales price and then add up the results. These functions are useful for performing complex calculations quickly and efficiently.

  • Text functions for manipulating and formatting text

Excel has a wide range of text functions that can help you manipulate and format text. Some of the most popular text functions are LEN, RIGHT, LEFT, LOWER, UPPER, TRIM and SUBSTITUTE. These functions extract specific text from a string, convert text to uppercase or lowercase, and concatenate text from different cells. LEN
For example, if you have a table of customer information and you want to extract the first name and last name from a single cell, you can use the LEFT and RIGHT functions to extract the text. These functions are useful for manipulating and formatting text quickly and efficiently.

  • Dates and time functions for working with dates and times

Excel has a wide range of date and time functions (DAY, MONTH, DATE, TODAY,etc)  that can help you work with dates and times. These functions can calculate the difference between two dates, extract the day of the week from a date, and add or subtract time from a date.

For example, if you have a table of employee information and you want to calculate the length of their employment, you can use the DATEDIF function to calculate the difference between their start date and today’s date. These functions are useful for working with dates and times quickly and efficiently.

Real world applications for using these functions in business and finance

The functions mentioned above have a wide range of real-world applications in finance, healthcare, accounting, engineering and so on. You can implement them to analyze any type of data and extract insights, track expenses, calculate financial ratios, and perform complex math calculations.
For example, in a small business, you can use Excel to track your expenses, calculate your profit and loss, and create financial statements. If you work in finance, you can use Excel to calculate financial ratios, perform discounted cash flow analysis, and create financial models.
The only way to learn these usuful excel functions is working on real excel problems where you practice step by step when to implement them and gain the necessary experience for the jobs that require Excel.

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