What Is a Google Sheet Function? Plus 16 Useful Functions

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 22, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Google Sheets is a popular free spreadsheet tool. Users can complete many projects in Google Sheets, and using functions can enhance the process. If you want to use functions, it's helpful to know what different functions can do. In this article, we explain what a Google Sheet function is and 16 Google Sheet functions you can use.

What is a Google Sheet function?

A Google Sheets function is an operation that the Google Sheets spreadsheet applies directly to the information in the Google Sheet to complete automatic calculations based on the content in the Sheet. Functions allow you to create specific formulas to make calculations on various data inserted into particular cells in the spreadsheet.

A function is useful because it provides a shortcut when performing calculations, allowing you to apply functions to individual or groups of cells. This can help save time when performing calculations in Google Sheets.

Related: 22 Essential Google Sheets Formulas and How They Work

16 useful Google Sheet functions

There are many functions you can use within Google Sheets, with the most common being:

1. AVERAGE/MEDIAN

This type of function is used to get the mean value or average of numbers in several cells. You can use the AVERAGE function by putting the cells you which to include inside parenthesis. You can also do this with the MEDIAN function, allowing you to determine the median number of the range of cells you're using.

2. CONCATENATE

Concatenate is a Google Sheets function that enables you to combine text from several cells into one cell. To use this function, create a list of the cell addresses that include the text you want to combine in parentheses. Using the CLEAN function is sometimes useful to get rid of additional spaces that aren't needed and that could affect how the final text string looks.

Related: How To Merge Cells in Google Sheets on Desktop and Mobile Devices

3. IMAGE

The IMAGE Google Sheets function allows you to insert images into your Google Sheet in order to separate a wall of numbers. This allows you to accentuate specific segments within your spreadsheet and make them easier to find and interpret.

To use the IMAGE function, put the URL address of the image inside parentheses, as well as the width and height of the image in pixels that you want the spreadsheet to show in the cell. You can also choose to have Google Sheets adjust the size of the image to ensure it sufficiently fits within its cell.

4. ARRAY_CONSTRAIN

This is an array type of function within Google Sheets that enables you to keep an array result within a specific size or constraint. The syntax for this function is ARRAY_CONSTRAIN (input_range, num_rows, num_cols). Arrays that are included in this function include input_range, num_rows and num_cols.

5. SUM

SUM is a Google Sheets function that allows you to add together the values of a range of cells into one SUM. This is one of the basic functions available in the Google Sheets application. For example, if you wanted to total up the number of items in an inventory, you can use this function to determine the sum of all items.

6. CLEAN

The CLEAN function in Google Sheets enables you to remove miscellaneous characters when inserting copied data into the spreadsheet. Some of this data may contain characters you don't want or that won't print. While some of these characters are visible, other times they are not.

Related: How To Create a Google Spreadsheet

7. IF

IF is a Google Sheet function that many people find useful, as it enables you to use data to decide whether a particular condition is accurate. For example, you could use the IF function to see whether one value calculated is greater or lesser than another cell value. The IF function will provide you with a FALSE or TRUE answer, which can then be used when running further calculations.

8. IMPORTRANGE

Sometimes, you may want to use the data you have in one Google Sheet and insert it into other spreadsheets. This is done through the use of the IMPORTRANGE function. Enter the URL for the Google Sheet in parentheses you want to extract data from, and include the range of cells you want to be included. To successfully use this function, the owner of the original Google Sheet you want to export data to will have to give you permission to do so.

9. MAX/MIN

This function allows you to find the highest and lowest values in a range of various cells and display them in your Google Sheet. To use this function, simply enter the specific cells in parentheses after the MIN or MAX function. Google Sheets will then provide you with the accurate value for each.

10. ISEMAIL/ISURL

This Google Sheets function is used to validate email and URL addresses inserted into the spreadsheet. The ISEMAIL function will ensure there are no typos that would affect the email address, and the ISURL function ensures that the URL addresses entered into the spreadsheet cells contain the correct characters.

It's important to keep in mind that this function won't inform you if the email or URL addresses are active or valid, but it will make sure that the text you entered in the cell contains the correct characters to function properly as an email or URL address. For example, this function will make sure the @ sign is contained in an email address entered.

11. SPARKLINE

The SPARKLINE function helps you include a chart within a cell to reflect spreadsheet data as a set of cells within the Google Sheet. To use this function, enter the SPARKLINE function in one single cell within the Google Sheet in addition to several cells in parentheses. SPARKLINE will then provide you with a line chart that displays the data. You can also use the CHARTTYPEsubfunction to further customize the charts or to create a bar, win/loss or column chart.

12. PROPER/UPPER/LOWER

This type of function allows you to ensure you have proper capitalization within the text strings contained in your Google Sheet. Using the PROPER/UPPER/LOWER function, you can adjust all improper capitalization at once. Examples of commands you can use to fix capitalization include upper, proper and lower subfunctions. This type of function is often used when listing several individuals' names in your spreadsheet that have various capitalization requirements.

13. SPLIT

The SPLIT Google Sheets function allows you to break up one text string into different cells. This is used when a text string contains two or more words and you want to include each piece of information into a separate cell. This can simplify data sorting.

Related: How To Sort in the Google Sheets App: A Step-by-Step Guide

14. SUMIF

The SUMIF Google Sheets function is a way to sum up values in particular cells that meet a specific condition or conditions. For example, if your Google Spreadsheet includes lists of all items sold by each sales employee for each month, you can use the SUMIF function to add the complete amount of sales for each person individually.

To use this function, enter the name of the sales employee within parentheses to calculate that person's total sales for a period of time, such as for a week or month. The SUMIF function will only include values connected to that person's name.

15. TRIM

The Google Sheets function TRIM enables users to remove extra spaces from cells that have blank spaces between words. This function makes the cell spacing consistent. This allows you to have more clean and professional-looking cells.

16. TODAY/NOW

This function allows individuals to update the times and dates in cells automatically without you having to do it manually. The TODAY function will only show the current date in the cell, while the NOW function will show both the time and date in the cell. It's important to note that this function can cause Google Sheets to operate more slowly, as it takes time to pull day and time data every time you open the spreadsheet.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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