What Is the Function of Microsoft Excel?

By Katherine Sanger

Microsoft Excel is a data-management program that is used to create and format spreadsheets, analyze and share the information within those spreadsheets, and make charts, graphs and PivotTables. With advanced tools from Microsoft, users can easily share all their information through email, a company Intranet or the Internet.


Microsoft Excel has the ability to host huge spreadsheets up to one million rows by 16,000 columns. The data can be in a multitude of formats--numbers, dates, text, general, currency, time, percentages, fractions and scientific.


There are over 50 math and trigonometry functions in Excel. For example, Microsoft Excel can round numbers up and down, work with matrices, determine square roots and sines and do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.


Depending on your needs and data, Excel can create different charts for you. These include column, pie, bar, area, scatter, line, stock, surface, bubble and radar charts.


PivotTables let you quickly change how you view your data. After creating a worksheet, you can simply "drag and drop" the columns to new positions and Excel will make changes automatically so that calculated rows change without having to figure out the new formulas yourself.


Macros allow users to create small custom programs to automate certain repetitive tasks. The macro basically records your keystrokes and mouse clicks and then lets you use them again later to do the same task.

Holding Data

Microsoft Excel can even be used as a flat-file database. It's very useful for simple functions, like keeping track of addresses and phone numbers.

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