For personal applications, the common spreadsheet is often used as a simple database — a quick and simple tool for storing bits of information.
But the real power of spreadsheets is in manipulating numbers. Here’s a sampling of useful and interesting logical and simple math functions.
For any task that requires working with numbers, the spreadsheet is truly a wonderful tool. Spreadsheets can be used for massive undertakings such as global economics modeling or for small, banal musings such as calculating when your birthday will next fall on a Saturday. Some users even treat spreadsheet programs as a poor man’s CAD solution.
Unless they work with numbers for a living, most MS Office or Google Apps users probably spend little time in the spreadsheet app that lies readily at hand. That’s too bad, because spreadsheets can be incredibly useful beyond storing odd bits of information. And that power lies mostly with functions — commands you insert into formulas.
Sure, you probably already know that you don’t have to type =C5+C6+C7+C8+C9+C10 to add up a series of numbers. You’ll get the same result with the simpler but more flexible command: =SUM(C5:C10). Insert or delete a cell within the “C5:C10” range, and you don’t have to change the formula.
But there are numerous functions that, while still relatively simple, are even more flexible and powerful than the basic Sum function. Here are 15 that let you work with your data in far more creative ways.
Note: Although I focus on Excel for this article, the concepts apply to similar applications such as Google’s Spreadsheet.