# Enter A Formula Using The If Function To Display Yes What Is The Difference Between An Excel Formula And An Excel Function?

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## What Is The Difference Between An Excel Formula And An Excel Function?

A question I get asked a lot when it comes to Excel is what is the difference between a function and a formula? In this article I will discuss the differences and work through some examples.

A formula in Excel can be described as a statement written by the spreadsheet user that requires a calculation to produce a specific result. These formulas can be as simple or complex as the users want. A formula can contain values, cell references, defined names, and functions—but more on that later.

Let’s start at the beginning. Formulas must start with an equal = sign. If you do not enter this symbol, Excel will treat your cell entries as text and no calculations will be performed on your cell entries.

So a formula after the equal sign contains the cell reference or the address of the values ​​that will be manipulated or calculated using the various operands in between.

These operands are the standard mathematical operators you will be familiar with: – addition, multiplication, division, subtraction and exponents.

An example of a simple formula is

=A1+B1 which is typed in cell A2

It will add the contents of cells A1 and B1 and display the result in cell A2.

So in summary Excel formulas are typed directly into the formula bar, they don’t have wizards, they can’t be nested and they’re usually simple calculations.

An Excel function on the other hand is a pre-defined set of instructions built into Excel that will perform some type of operation to provide a value and output. Another way to explain is a formula that is already written for you in Excel. For example SUM, COUNT, IF, AVERAGE and so on,

The great thing about functions is that they can be nested inside each other, used to simplify complex formulas, and built into wizards to guide the user through different parts of a function.

All these pre-programmed functions are grouped together in the Formulas tab. To access them just use the formula tab or you can click the Insert function fx button to bring up the function dialog box.

There are three ways to start using a function, just start typing the function you want to do for example SUM, AVERAGE etc. or you can select the category if the calculation is date and time, FINANCIAL or TEXT and finally you can scroll. Options available.

So if we take the same example as the function above which produces the same result and write the formula

=SUM(A1:B1) This will sum the contents of A1 and B1 and display the cell contents in A2.

So can you combine the two? Well, you can, and most users are able to simplify more complex calculations. Let’s look at an example or two.

1. =A2+B2

2. =SUM(D2:D4)/10

3. =IF(A1=<5,"Less than","Not Less than")

All of the above are formulas, but some include other functions like Example 2 and Example 3 as well as operators like plus and minus to provide output.

That is, it is really simple.

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