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Cleaning & Analyzing Data in Excel

This guide complements the Cleaning & Analyzing Data in Excel workshop

What are functions?

Functions are predefined operations that can be used on your data. Functions are called using the equal sign (=) and the function's shortened name (see below). Functions save time and effort by performing tasks that could take a human much more time to do.

This function takes the absolute value of the number within the parentheses. You can also reference a cell as shown below.

Common Data Cleaning Functions

Common Data Cleaning Functions include --

  • TRIM (removes any leading and trailing whitespace)
  • CONCAT (combine cell contents)
  • CLEAN (removes any non-printable characters)
  • LOWER (changes text to lowercase)

Applying Functions Across Cells

If you would like to apply a function across an entire row or column, simply place your cursor at the right bottom edge of the cell that has the function (circled below). As you hover, a small black plus sign will appear. Drag the plus sign in the direction that you wish to apply the function.


Complete the following cleaning step(s) on the practice tab of the workshop_data Excel file.

  • Trim the Make column
  • Make every word in each column header lowercase
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