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Learn Excel 2011 for Mac by Guy Hart-Davis

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Understanding the Components of a Function

In Excel, a function has a name written in capitals followed by a pair of parentheses, which enclose the pieces of data (if any) the function needs. Here are three examples:

  • SUM(). This widely used function adds together two or more values that you specify.
  • COUNT(). This function counts the number of cells that contain numbers (as opposed to text, blanks, or other data types) in the range you specify.
  • TODAY(). This function enters the current date in the cell.

Most functions take arguments, pieces of information that tell the function what you want it to work on. Excel prompts you to provide the arguments each function needs. For example, when you enter the function in a cell, Excel displays a ScreenTip ...

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