Topic 15 – Notes



After completing this lesson, you should know:

  • How to enter the basic functions
  • How to use shortcuts for the basic functions
  • How to double-check the answers
  • How to use the fill handle to copy functions


There are many functions we can use in Excel. These functions are grouped into various categories. This is the Function Library group on the Formulas ribbon tab:

In this topic, we will look at the five basic functions: SUM, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, COUNT.


Enter Basic Functions

At first, we will type the function:

  • Click in the cell where you want the answer (cell B10 in our example)
  • Type: =su

  • Double-click on SUM in the list showing below

  • Select the data
  • Close the brackets (parenthesis)

  • Enter

Note: Instead of typing =su, you can also type =sum( and then select the data, but using =su  is like learning a pattern which will help you when you want to use the function substitute for example. Then you don’t have to type the long name of the function, but type only =su and choose the preferred function from the list.

Use the same method to calculate the following:

Result for all the basic functions:

Use Shortcuts for the Basic Functions

There are shortcuts on the ribbon for all these basic functions.

  • Click in the cell where you want the answer (cell B10 in our example)
  • Home ribbon tab → Editing group → Autosum
  • Verify that the correct cells are selected
  • Enter

For the other four functions, click on the arrow next to Autosum:


Double-check the Answers

It is a good habit to check the answers, especially if you are new to formulas and functions in Excel.

To double-check the result for the five basic functions:

  • Select the data (cells B2 to B8 in our example)
  • See the answer for your selection in the status bar at the bottom of the screen
  • You should be able to see three answers: average, count and sum
  • To see min and max as well, right-click on the status bar and select them on the list. Once they are selected, they will always display when you select a range of cells.

Use the Fill Handle to Copy Functions

Excel can fill formulas as functions the same way it fills text, numbers and dates. After completing the first function (sum in cell B10 in our example), move to the fill handle and drag it to copy the function for the other quarters.

The result:

Last modified: Friday, 30 April 2021, 3:22 PM