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Basic Excel

Guidance on basic Excel functions

Hallmark University Library

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Excel Basics

This libguide is designed to provide basic information on the use of Microsoft Excel. 


This guide is to be used as a reference point only and is not intended to cover all aspects of how Excel may be used in your class. As with any assignment, please ensure that all instructor directions are followed.

If you need additional assistance, please reach out to your course instructor to schedule assistance outside of the regularly scheduled class sessions.


Excel functions are built-in formulas that perform specific calculations or actions on data in Excel. They are designed to simplify complex calculations, automate common tasks, and improve the accuracy and efficiency of data analysis. Excel functions can be used to perform a variety of tasks, including mathematical operations, date and time calculations, text manipulation, and more.

Excel functions can be accessed from the Formulas tab on the Excel ribbon or by typing the function name directly into a cell. Each function requires one or more arguments, which are values or references to data that the function uses to perform its calculation.

Here are some examples of common Excel functions:

  • SUM: Adds up a range of numbers.

  • AVERAGE: Calculates the average of a range of numbers.

  • MAX: Returns the maximum value in a range of numbers.

  • MIN: Returns the minimum value in a range of numbers.

  • IF: Evaluates a logical condition and returns one value if the condition is true and another value if it is false.

  • VLOOKUP: Searches for a value in the first column of a table and returns a corresponding value in the same row from a specified column.

  • CONCATENATE: Joins two or more text strings into one.

  • TODAY: Returns the current date.

  • NOW: Returns the current date and time.

These are just a few examples of the many Excel functions available. Excel functions can be combined and nested to perform more complex calculations and tasks. Learning how to use Excel functions can help you save time and improve the accuracy of your data analysis.