Basic Excel Functions to Help You Crush Reporting

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Basic Excel Functions to Help You Crush Reporting


Let’s face it: having Excel knowledge on your resume is going to set you apart from the large majority of the competition. But, if you’re smart enough to list it, then be smart enough to store at least these four basic Excel functions in your repertoire.

  1. SUM

The SUM formula gives you precisely what it says, the sum of two or more numbers. You can use it a few different ways:

Written as: =SUM(1, 2), the two numbers will be added for you.

Written as =SUM(A1, B1), as long as there are numbers in the two cells you’re referencing in the formula, you’ll get the sum.

Written as =SUM(A1:B5), you’ll get the sum for the range of numbers, in this case, in cells A1 through B5.

  1. LEN

The LEN formula counts the numbers of characters, including spaces, in a cell.

Written as: =LEN(A1)

  1. TRIM

The TRIM formula gets rid of extra spaces in a cell (but not between words), which sometimes appear before or after your data after you’ve input it.

To do this, type =TRIM(A1)


Concatenate is just a fancy word for combing data from two or more different cells into one cell. Consider this scenario: I have “Lindsey” in cell A1 and “Doe” in cell B1. I want to combine these in one cell. I would “concatenate” my data, or combine the two so they’re in one cell rather than two.

To do this, click on the cell where you want to put the combined text, then type =(A1&” “&B1) and hit enter. The space in between the quotation marks ensures there will be a space between my first and last name in the results.


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