How useful are the top 10 most popular Excel functions

Brass Contributor

On the official Microsoft website covering every single function in Excel, they have a list of the 10 most popular Excel functions:




Here's what they do.


SUM: Adds all the numbers in a range of cells. For example, =SUM(A1:A10) calculates the total of values from A1 to A10.


IF: Performs a logical test and returns one value if the test is true and another if it is false. For example, =IF(A1>B1, "Over Budget", "OK") checks if A1 is greater than B1 and returns "Over Budget" if true, otherwise "OK".


LOOKUP: Searches for a value in a vector or array and returns a value from the same position in another vector or array. For example, =LOOKUP(4.19, A2:A6, B2:B6) looks for 4.19 in the range A2:A6 and returns the corresponding value from B2:B6


VLOOKUP: Searches for a value in the first column of a table and returns a value in the same row from a specified column. For example, =VLOOKUP(A1, B1:D10, 2, FALSE) looks for A1 in the first column of the range B1:D10 and returns the value in the second column of the found row.


MATCH: Searches for a specified value in a range and returns the relative position of that value within the range. For example, =MATCH(39, B1:B10, 0) returns the position of 39 in the range B1:B10.


CHOOSE: Returns a value from a list of values based on an index number. For example, =CHOOSE(2, "Apple", "Banana", "Cherry") returns "Banana" because it is the second item in the list.


DATE: Creates a date from individual year, month, and day components. For example, =DATE(2024, 5, 20) returns the date May 20, 2024.


DAYS: Calculates the number of days between two dates. For example, =DAYS("2024-12-31", "2024-01-01") returns 364.


FIND: Locates one string within another and returns the starting position of the found string. For example, =FIND("e", "Excel") returns 1, since "e" is the first character in "Excel".


INDEX: Returns the value of an element in a table or array, selected by the row and column number indexes. For example, =INDEX(A1:C10, 2, 3) returns the value in the second row and third column of the range A1:C10.


Here's a video explanation on all of these functions, ranked based on how useful they are:


I believe most of these functions are a bit outdated and more modern alternatives exists that are just a lot better, such as: XLOOKUP, SWITCH, TEXTAFTER, ...


How often do you still use these functions? Do you think they still deserve to be the most popular ones?

1 Reply
They seem outdated. Especially the LOOKUP function. In my 30+ years of using spreadsheets I have not once used LOOKUP. Nor have I encountered it in more than a handful of files.