Last Updated: February 14, 2023

- Written by Puneet

What is a Function in Excel

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What is a Function in Excel

In Excel, a function is a predefined formula that performs a specific calculation by using values a user input as arguments. Every Excel function has a specific purpose, in simple words, it calculates a specific value. Each function has its arguments (the value one needs to input) to get the result value in the cell.


Each function has two major components. In short, each function (except a few) is made up of two following things:

  • Function Name
  • Arguments

Let me show you an example. Let’s take a look at the below function which we have inserted in the cell A1.

Now if you look at the formula bar you can understand the structure of the function by splitting it into two parts i.e. name and arguments.

Function Arguments

As I have already mentioned that in a function you need to specify input values to get the desired result. An argument is that value which you need to specify. If you look at the syntax of a function you can see there in each function there is set arguments to specify.

Below are the types of arguments:

  • Required: A required argument is compulsory for a user to specify and without which a function can’t calculate its result.
  • Optional: If you skip specifying these arguments it will not stop a function to calculate its result value.
  • No Arguments: There are few functions (like NOW) where you don’t need to specify any argument.

How to INSERT a Function in Excel

The easiest way to insert a function in a cell in Excel is to type the name of the function you want to insert starting with equals to sign.

Let's say you want to insert the SUM function:

  • First of all, you need to type = and the then type SUM.
  • After that, enter the opening parentheses.
  • Specify the arguments (refer to a cell or you can directly enter values into the function).
  • In the end, type closing parentheses and hit enter.

Major Types

Below are the major types:

  • Text Functions: If you deal with data where you have text, then below are some of the functions which you need to learn to work efficiently.
  • Date Functions: Dates are one of the major ingredients of data that you use every day, and helps you to analyze your data in a better way.
  • Time Functions: Just like dates, time is could also be there in data and you can use time functions to deal with data where you have time values.
  • Logical Functions: Logical functions can help you create some of the most helpful formula in your spreadsheet.
  • Maths Functions: Excel is all about calculations and analysis, and mathematical functions and you can use these functions to get better in calculations and analysis.
  • Statistical Functions: One of the best things about Excel is there are a bunch of statistical functions there that you can use to analyze data easily.
  • Lookup Functions: In Excel, there some specific functions which can help you to look up a value or specific information about a cell or a range of cells.
  • Information Function: These some specific functions which you can use to get information about the values you supplied.
  • Financial Functions: These functions can help you calculate some of the common but important financial calculations in an easy way.

About the Author

puneet one point one

Puneet is using Excel since his college days. He helped thousands of people to understand the power of the spreadsheets and learn Microsoft Excel. You can find him online, tweeting about Excel, on a running track, or sometimes hiking up a mountain.