9 Popular Excel functions to work with
Microsoft Excel is a treasure mine of hidden goodies- everywhere you look, there are functions, features and formulas waiting to be discovered. The possibilities of what one can achieve with using Excel are virtually endless. If you are an Excel beginner, then there are 9 popular Excel functions you should begin using with your Excel projects:
- Find and Replace
The Find and Replace function is a good method of sifting through data and ensuring that all relevant data are replaced accurately. One of the most convenient Excel functions there are to use, especially when you have a large amount of data, the find and replace function is a safe method to guarantee that you do not miss out on any important factor. To begin, choose the Home tab and locate Find and select. This will enable you to select find and pull up the dialog box. Under the find tab, simply key in the data and use the replace tab to replace the value. You are also able to refine your search by specifying within, search by, look in, match case and other available options.
- Page Break
The most basic yet useful of Excel functions, page breaks are useful for the excel users who want certain sections to be printed in certain ways, or do not wish for table header rows to be included as the last line, and other relevant requirements. To insert page breaks in Excel, choose the Page layout option. Locate the page set up group and select breaks. This will allow you to insert and customise the page breaks you want to have.
- Pivot Tables
Pivot Tables work well as a summary report for your information and are generally used for users who require data analysis for large amounts of data in one go. To make use of the Pivot Tables for your data, simply look under your Insert Tab and choose Pivot Table drop down. Select the Pivot Table option either as an existing sheet or another. You will then be prompted for more customisation options so follow the directions and make sure you input all relevant information needed to form a comprehensive data table for your reports.
Reduce the tediousness and time spent on retyping the same data values by using Excel’s autofill function. To do this, you can make use of the cell fill handle and the autofill options dialog box to apply the changes. Using your mouse, select your beginning cell and drag the fill handle (black squares located at the bottom right) so that you can select your cell range. Excel will autofill the select cells by repeating the same values or inserting data value sequences- you will be able to choose different options like copying cells, fill series, fill formatting and more. Simply select the options accordingly.
- Configuration (decimal symbols, thousands separator)
Amongst the long list of Excel functions available to the user, Excel’s number formatting capabilities are one of the most essential. You won’t have to go beyond setting your country locale information into the system as a reference for the number formatting. However, in case you are required to do so when dealing with reports that require editing to fit other country formats, you can configure the settings by looking under the menu tab. Locate the tools section, select options and choose international. Uncheck the default system separators and input your own preferences.
- Data Validation
The data validation function in Excel is another highly recommended function to use, especially when you are dealing with large amounts of data and can’t risk having inaccurate values being input. To save yourself from the grief of having to sift and correct values, you can instead set up restrictions for data input by using the data validation function in Excel. Simply look for your data tab and choose data validation. You will then be able to tweak the settings and conditions as well as input a message etc. You can also set up warnings and error alerts so you will know the moment inaccurate data is inserted.
Save yourself some time by making use of the built in templates Excel has available for users. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of time customising and building your own templates from scratch since Microsoft Excel already comes with easily editable themes/templates you can use. You can even save your own Excel project files as a template and reuse it whenever you need to!
One of the best Excel functions that beginners should be learning to use are the charts. Excel charts are a straightforward and ideal visual representation for numeric data, which is good when it comes to making reports. Excel has improved on the availability of different chart options throughout the years for users so do make sure to use them to your advantage! To create charts, simply locate the Insert tab and choose the chart or chart group to select between different chart types and choose ok to generate it. Excel will show you how your data looks in different charts so you don’t have to go through the trouble of repeating the same process repeatedly.
Another one of the most popular Excel functions would be transposing data from rows to columns for a more streamlined display. Instead of having to retype all your data, you can simply use the transpose function to paste all your relevant data. Simply copy the area and range you want, then shift to a blank location. Choose the Home tab in excel and select paste. This will enable the transpose function for you.