Basic Excel Functions

What are the basic Excel functions?

The basic functions are those functions that we can use for doing mathematical operations or calculations in our daily life. We often do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentage, counting like calculations.

Excel is rich in functions and we cannot use all functions for our work. There are functions related to various departments like you’ll find functions that only accountants will use; you’ll find functions that only statisticians will use and so on.

Let’s see how to use SUM function in Excel.

SUM( )

Let’s say, we have entered four values like you can see in the image below.

Now, to add these four values from A1 to A4, we can use SUM function in any other cells. Here, we will see how to get the result in cell A5.

When we click on cell A5, we can use either of the following methods for calculating addition.

Method 1

Type =SUM(A1,A2,A3,A4) and press Enter key.

Method 2

Type =SUM(A1:A4) and press Enter key.

Method 3

  • Click Insert function sign fx at the Formula bar and you’ll get Insert Function window.
  • Select SUM and click OK button and you’ll get Function Arguments window with SUM function name written on the top-left.
  • Excel will automatically identify the values from the cells above and use as range of cells A1:A4. You can also see it shows you preview of the result under Formula result so if you are agree with the result, you can click OK to see the final result in the cell.
  • If you notice in the Formula bar, it shows you the formula, it is writing to do the addition.

I hope, the above methods are useful easy to understand and useful for you to use SUM function in Excel.

Like we used SUM function, we can also follow same method to use other functions. Let’s see the syntax of other basic function in Excel.


Calculates average of the given range of cells.

Example: =AVERAGE(A1:A4)


Count function counts the cells in a range that has only numeric values.

Example: If A1=43, A2=Rajesh, A3=54, A4=65, then the count function will give the result to 3.


As A2 includes alphabets, Count function will not count it. It will only count the cells that have numeric values.


CountA will count all the cells that have some values whether it is alphabet, numeric or alphanumeric or any character.

In the previous example we saw in Count( ), the following function will result to 4.


CountA does not count the cells that are blank or without any character.

MIN( )

Min( ) finds the smallest value in a range of cells.

If A1=34, A2=45, A3=66, then the following Min function will result to 34.


MAX( )

Max( ) finds the highest value in a range of cells.

In the example, we used in Min( ), the following Max function will result to 66.


LEN( )

Len( ) finds the length of the characters in the specified cell.

Example: In the following picture, LEN function will result to 17.

Please note: LEN function also includes the spaces that you give within a cell.