Different Functions of Microsoft Excel

By Hunter Taylor

Microsoft Excel is software used to calculate and analyze mathematical data. The parts of Excel consist of cells, columns/rows and spreadsheets. There are thousands of cells and rows in one spreadsheet, and there can be one or more spreadsheets in an Excel workbook. Each cell has the ability to house a formula, number, text or become a part of a chart or graph. Excel has functions that make calculating, displaying and analyzing data quicker and easier.


Excel contains built-in formulas. In cases where several iterations of a formula would be required to reach the correct calculation, Excel only requires one. In Excel, the user can enter the components of a formula and Excel provides the final answer in seconds. These types of calculations can be performed for statistical analysis, financial calculations and engineering needs. The ability of Excel to calculate the information saves the user time and decreases the chance of errors.

Charts and Graphs

Microsoft Excel can also create charts and graphs. Data entered into a spreadsheet is often difficult to grasp using numbers alone. It is most helpful to have this information in a graphical form. Excel has built-in bar and column graphs, pie and line charts. For more complex needs, stock price graphs and 3-D charts are also a part of Excel's graphing capabilities. Excel guides the user through the creation of a chart or graph using a step-by-step, question-answer format.

Link Workbooks

Connecting data across manual spreadsheets is impossible. The spreadsheets may be in different states or even countries. Excel allows for the linking of spreadsheets within one workbook or across various departments. For example, the accounting data in a spreadsheet in Maine can provide data for a spreadsheet in Texas. When information in one spreadsheet is updated, the calculations that rely on that information are automatically updated in other spreadsheets.


Excel has tools that assist the user with analyzing data. If there are large amounts of data that are too cumbersome, Excel has the ability to consolidate the data and remove any duplicates. If two employee records are identical, Excel will remove one of the records and keep the other. Excel also provides for modeling and "what-if" analysis. The user can test various scenarios to understand what would happen if certain variables are adjusted.


The information that Excel provides is only as valuable as the information entered. When using the Excel formulas, ensure that the correct components are used. Double-check the results to ensure they make sense. The user should be able to explain how the result was achieved using layman's terms. Additionally, the charts and graphs should be easily explainable and easy-to-interpret by the Excel user and those reading the graphs.