Google Sheets is a powerful tool that can help you organize and analyze data. One of the most useful features of Google Sheets is its ability to use functions to calculate data in your spreadsheet. Functions can save you a lot of time, especially when dealing with large amounts of data.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll cover some basic information about functions and how to use them in Google Sheets. We’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to enter functions correctly.

Functions are a great time-saving option for calculating data in your spreadsheet. They can be used in place of formulas when a formula would be too long or just too complicated to write out manually. Many functions in Google Sheets are geared more towards advanced users, and it can be tricky figuring out how and when to use them. But other functions are easy to use and can save you a lot of time.

Let’s start with some basic information and a few simple functions. In this example, we’d like to add some cells to calculate the total. If we tried to create a formula for that, we’d have to add each cell individually. Not only would that be tedious, but it would also make the formula really long, especially if we had a hundred cells that we wanted to add.

So instead of creating a formula, we’re going to use a function. First, we’ll select the cells and click the functions command. If you don’t see the functions command, click the three dots to see the rest of the commands. A drop-down menu will appear containing a list of functions. Here, you can find the average or count the number of cells in a selection. We’re going to use the sum function to add all of the cells and find the total. When you’re done, press ENTER on your keyboard, and the answer will appear.

Just like formulas, functions always start with an equal sign. But you may have noticed that there are no mathematical operators such as addition or subtraction like you would normally see in a formula. Instead, functions use a specific syntax that includes the name of the function followed by one or more arguments in parentheses. The arguments tell the function which cells or numbers to use when calculating the result.

In this example, we only have one argument, even though there are two different cell references. This is called a range of cells or a cell range. A cell range is represented by two different cell references with a colon in between. In this case, the range consists of all the cells from d3 through d12. If you want to use more than one argument, you’ll need to separate each one with a comma.

Let’s try another function now that has a different syntax. In this example, there’s a column for the date each item was ordered and the date each item was received. We want to find out how many business days it took for each order to arrive. We can use the network day’s function to find out how long it took for each delivery.

To use this function, we’ll go back to the functions command. Here, we can choose a category, in this case, “date,” to narrow down the choices. We can hover over each function to see a brief description of what action it performs. Just click a function to insert it. We need two arguments for this function: a start date and an end date. We’ll select the start date and the end date, make sure to separate them with a comma, and make sure it has a closing parenthesis.

Remember that, in order for the function to work, the syntax must be exact. If you enter a function incorrectly, click the cell, and a window will appear telling you what the function needs. Just like with formulas, you can copy the function to other cells by using the fill handle.

If functions are new to you, the syntax for some may look complicated and strange. If you are unsure of when or how to use a particular function, it’s probably a good idea to skip it. However, if you’re familiar with more common actions like sum or average, look closely at the syntax and give functions a try. They might just be easier than you thought.

In conclusion, Google Sheets functions can be a powerful tool for streamlining your data analysis. By understanding the syntax and using the right functions, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort. So, give it a try!