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Excel 2003: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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General Math Functions

Excel's Math & Trig category contains functions that go a step beyond the basic mathematical operators (like +, -, /, *, and ^) to help you figure out things like absolute values and greatest (and least) common denominators.

Note

Poker fan alert: the COMBIN( ) and PERMUT( ) functions may help you keep your game sharp even when you're away from the table.

This section covers 14 of the most commonly used functions in this category.

PRODUCT( ), FACT( ), POWER( ), and SQRT( ): Products, Factorials, Powers, and Square Roots

These four functions actually offer the same services provided by many of the simple operators covered in the last chapter, but, in some cases, they come with a few twists that may save you time.

The PRODUCT( ) function takes up to 30 arguments, multiplies them together, and gives the result. For example, the following formula multiplies 2*3*3, and arrives at 18:

=PRODUCT(2,3,3)

One interesting characteristic of the PRODUCT( ) function is that in addition to accepting individual cell references, it also supports cell ranges. This means you can use PRODUCT( ) to multiply all the numbers in a range in the same way you use SUM( ) to add numbers. Here's an example:

=PRODUCT(A2:A12)

You can use the FACT( ) function to calculate a factorial , which is a sequence of numbers (starting at 1), each of which is multiplied together to arrive at the result. For example, 5! (pronounced "five factorial") translates into 5*4*3*2*1, which works out to 120. Rather than ...

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