# Functions Photos: © Sebastian Duda, and Andrea G Carelasa, Shutterstock.com.

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Functions Photos: © Sebastian Duda, and Andrea G Carelasa, Shutterstock.com

This lesson will cover:
Basic spreadsheet functions. Finding data using VLOOKUP. Using the IF function and other logical operators. Functional Skills: This presentation covers the following Functional Skills standard: Find and Select Information Level – use appropriate search techniques to locate and select relevant information.

What are functions and what do they do?
Spreadsheet software comes with a variety of different functions that can make it easy to process data efficiently. Teacher’s note: Functions are built-in formulae or algorithms that can perform specific types of calculations on spreadsheet data. They can perform a variety of actions from statistical analysis (AVERAGE, MEDIAN etc.) to basic calculations (SUM) to more complex trigonometric calculations (SIN, COS, TAN). Functions can also be combined with logical operators (IF, NOT, OR) to create more complex statements. It may be worth discussing with students the fact that at a certain level creating complex spreadsheet formulae and functions can be very similar to computer programming, in terms of the use of logic statements and the processing of returned values. Photo: © joingate, Shutterstock.com What are functions and what do they do?

Simple functions Typing out a formula like
would eventually be tiresome, especially if lots more cells needed to be added into the equation. To make this easier Excel has functions which will help make writing formulae easier. For example: Sum adds together a series of numbers Average works out the average of a series of numbers Max works out the largest of a series of numbers Min works out the smallest of a series of numbers. Functions also use the colon (:) to stand for all the cells in between two cells. So that becomes

Using functions Teacher’s notes: Mode and median are technically both types of averages, and in fact the ‘average’ function we describe here actually finds the mean. To limit confusion the term ‘mean’ was avoided here, since Excel refers to it as an ‘average’.

Finding a record VLOOKUP allows you to search through a table of information and find the relative value. Like a database, the table has: field names – Subject, Teacher, Room records – each row is a different record. For example, the first record is ‘English Mrs Ridyard Room 6’. To find out the ICT teacher, you would look down the Subject column until you found ICT, then across to the Teacher column to find the teacher’s name.

VLOOKUP The computer does just the same. The function which is entered in cell B7 is as follows: =VLOOKUP(A7,A2:C5,2,FALSE) – Mrs Spencer Vertical (i.e. column) lookup (find) Find the word in cell A7 Look between A2:C5 Take the value in column 2 Find an exact match

TRUE and FALSE In VLOOKUP, a TRUE value is used when searching for numbers and wanting to find the closest match. For example, you might look up the value ‘5’, but still want data returned where the value is ‘5.1’. However, the previous example required an exact match of letters so FALSE would be used. VLOOKUP(A7,A1:C5,2,FALSE), TRUE and FALSE are used in many formulae. They are logical values like ‘1’ and ‘0’ or ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. The effect they have depends on how the formula is constructed.

VLOOKUP

Logical operators in spreadsheets

More on the IF function =IF(D1<26,100,200 )
The IF function is one of the most commonly used functions as it allows you to create logical statements. Logical test Value if true Value if false =IF(D1<26,100,200 ) If the cell D1 is less than 26 then return the value ‘100’ in the cell. If the cell D1 is greater than 26 then return the value ‘200’ in the cell. IF statements can be used to alert you when tolerances are breeched (e.g. going over budget) or they can be combined with other statements like COUNTIF.

Functions