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Using Functions

A function is a type of built-in, pre-constructed formula. You can use Google Spreadsheet’s built-in functions instead of writing complex formulas in your spreadsheets; you can also include functions as part of your formulas.

The nice thing about functions is that they simplify the creation of complex formulas. For example, if you want to total the values of cells B4 through B7, you could enter the following formula:

=B4+B5+B6+B7

Or you could use the SUM function, which is built into Google Spreadsheets. The SUM function lets you total (sum) a column or row of numbers without having to type every cell into the formula. In this instance, the formula to total the cells B4 through B7 could be written using the SUM function, like this:

=sum(B4:B7)

The SUM function is just one of many functions you can use to perform sophisticated calculations. All functions use the following format:

=function(argument)

Replace function with the name of the function, and replace argument with a range reference. You can enter a function into a formula either by typing the name of the function or by pasting the function into the formula from a list of functions displayed on the Formula tab.

Google Spreadsheets includes more than 200 individual functions, from ABS (absolute value) to ZTEST (a statistical test). These functions are identical to the ones built into Microsoft Excel, so if you’re an Excel user, you’ll feel right at home.

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