12 Frequently Used Excel Formulas Every Architect Should Learn

April 5, 2022

Microsoft Excel is a robust tool that almost everyone is familiar with. This might not be the software you are taught most as an architecture student, but as an architect, you are required to churn numbers for designing error-free blueprints for buildings.

It is much more than a mere cataloging tool. According to CFI, Excel definition is a spreadsheet software program that helps to compute and analyze critical data with formulas and functions. It also makes data management super easy and effective through visual representations. So, you can use Excel to perform the less glamorous tasks.

Why Should An Architect Or An Architecture Student Learn Excel?

Microsoft Excel is mainly used for analyzing and reporting in most businesses. As an architect, your standard days would consist of creating reports and graphs to help you design a building.

But the main reason you should learn Excel as a professional is to speed up your work and increase efficiency. It also helps you visualize the data for your projects. It is a game-changing tool for any architect.

Data management and crunching numbers have never been easier with the plethora of shortcuts and formulas that are available in Excel. But if you are a beginner, figuring out the foundations and macro aspects will give you the most bang for your buck.

You can remain ahead of your competition if you have deeper knowledge about Microsoft Excel. You can take professional help to master this incredibly useful tool. If you are on a busy schedule, digital institutes are a great place to get started on a limited budget. The Excel courses from Acuity Training are great for learning how to organize, structure, maneuver, and streamline complex data with formulas and functions.

How To Advance Your Career With Excel Formulas?

First and foremost, you must get the Microsoft Excel software on your device. If you are still using the previous version of the software like Excel 2010 or Excel 2016, update it to the latest version. The tool may look like a mere digital graph paper.

The essence of Microsoft Excel lies in its abundance of formulas. A formula is an equation that is used to compute and process data or values. Using a formula in Excel is simple. You would only have to type an equal to sign (=) and the formula into the cell. You can also use the drop-downs in the formula ribbon to select the category and use the formula. All the formulas are categorized in the dialog box in which you can input your values.

You can use data you are already working on to practice formulas or you can also open an excel sheet that you already have to practice new formulas. Here is a list of 12 easy and most frequently used formulas every architect should know:


The SUM is used to add values within a well-defined range. The range can include multiple columns and rows, or even specific cells. You can specify the range by using the names of the cells. This is useful if you want to add large amounts of data quickly.

Formula: =SUM(B7:F23)


This formula is used to find the smallest number or value within the specified range. You can use this formula to make sense of your data and know the smallest value for graphs and charts.

Formula: =MIN(F1:H9)


As the name suggests, this formula is the opposite of MIN. It is used to find the highest number or value within a specific range.

Formula: =MAX(A25:F72)


Compares two different outputs depending on whether a set condition is true or false. This is essential to get a summary of your overall data. You can include formulas like AND and OR to carry out complex logic.

Formula: =IF(F2<F1, “ADD AREA”,” AREA OK”)


This formula is used to perform SUM function only if certain criteria are met. You can use this to set multiple parameters. For example, if you want to add numbers that are less than 100, then you can use the following formula:

Formula: =SUMIF(C1:C50,”<100”)


Use the COUNT formula to get the values of a number field in a specified range. It can only count numbers and not text. For example, if you want to know the number of values in one column, you can use:

Formula: =COUNT(B1:B20)


Just like SUMIF, this function executes COUNT if a specific condition is met within the range. It counts the number of cells that match the criteria. For example, if you want to count only the cells that are greater than 100, you can use

Formula: =COUNTIF(B1:B20,”>100”)


It is used to round the decimals of a number to a specified number of digits. You can also use ROUNDUP and ROUNDDOWN to control the accuracy of the value. For example, if cell B2 contains 46.936 and you want to round up to eliminate decimals, you can use:


=ROUND(B2,2), the result would be 46.93

=ROUNDUP(B2,0), the result is 47

=ROUNDDOWN(B2,1), the result is 46.9


This formula is used when you need to find values in a table or a specified range. This is a tricky formula if you are new to Excel. But if you are up for the challenge, this might be a formula that you use the most.

You will need the lookup value (the value you want to look for), the range, and the column number that contains the value. Conditions can also be set to get an exact match by specifying TRUE and FALSE. If you put this all together, the equation will look something like this:

Formula: =VLOOKUP(Lookup value,range,the column number,conditions(TRUE) or (FALSE))

Absolute Reference Excel

In Microsoft Excel, whenever you add a formula, it is used as a relative reference in its general form. Meaning, if you change the location of the formula from one cell to another, it will also change its value based on the changed cell.

For instance, if you type the formula =SUM(A1+A2) into A3 cell and paste it to another B3 cell, the formula will change to =SUM(B1+B2).

But by using a specific syntax, you can prevent it from happening. You can fix the value of the formula. This is called Absolute Reference. You can do it by adding $. This will lock the value of a particular cell reference.

For instance, if you type the formula =SUM($A$1+$A$2) into the A3 cell and move it to the B3 cell, the formula will remain the same.

How to Make A Drop-Down List in Excel

You can create a drop-down list easily with Data Validation. Simply, follow this path:

Go to Data>>Data Validation>>Under the Allow box, select List>>Under the Source bar, type the numbers or values (that you wish to create a drop-down of) separated by commas>>click on OK.

How To Highlight Duplicates In Excel

If you are working with a large volume of data, it may or may not have duplicate values. You can follow this set of instructions to easily highlight them and save a lot of time and effort.

Select the range of data or value you need to check>>Select Conditional Formatting>>Hover over Highlight Cell Rules>>Select Duplicate Values from the drop-down menu>> It will then open a dialog box, where you can select ‘Duplicate’ under the section Format cells that contain>>Click on OK.

Alternatively, you can use the COUNTIF formula after selecting the range.

Key Takeaway

Leadership roles rely heavily on using data to make decisions. If you are an architect, you must learn how to navigate and use Excel to make a significant difference in your career. Even though the tool may seem complex, these 12 formulas can make your life easier. Learn them by heart and don’t forget to practice using them.

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JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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