The title says it all, simple functions in Excel really save time when calculating a large amount of numbers, creating a proposal or just creating a home budget. Believe it or not it’s not that hard to create an Excel file with functions where you change one number and all the other number update automatically. Today we’ll go over some simple functions that I use daily.

First let’s talk about the sum function. This function does simple addition for any cells you choose. First you have to choose a location where you want you total. Once there click the cell, then hit the Fx function button at the top. The Insert Function window will pop up. Click on Sum in the function list and hit OK. Now the Function Arguments window will pop up. Here you have to highlight the cells you want to calculate. If they are not in a row you may have to hold the Ctrl key and click each cell individually. Alternatively, if the cells are in a row you can always enter the first cell and then a colon : and then the last cell, for example A1:A19. This means that the function will add all the data within the cells together between cells A1 through A19. Once you are done highlighting the cells you wish to calculate, click OK. The Sum should show up in the originally clicked total cell.

Now let’s talk about manual functions. If you remember high school Algebra, Excel works the same way. For example, in the Fx function row at the top of the Excel window, if I click my total cell and type =A1-A2 and hit enter, I’ll get the difference between A1 and A2. You can do the same this for adding, subtracting, multiplication and division just by using the following symbols, +, -, *, /. In this way you can bypass the function wizard and quickly create simple Excel spreadsheets that can track costs, sales, or pretty much anything.

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