Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding Function Syntax
Every function has the same basic
Some functions allow you to enter
multiple arguments; other functions require
them (as in the PMT function mentioned
earlier, which requires you to feed it
the interest rate, number of payments,
and the total loan amount). Regardless
of whether an argument is required,
separate each argument with a comma.
First, just like a formula, a function starts
with an equals sign =.
Next comes the function name, such as
SUM, which tells Excel which calculation
should be performed.
The function name is not case-sensitive,
which means you could type SUM or sum
in this example. However, after you enter
the formula, Excel changes the function
name to uppercase automatically.
Text is another type of argument you
might use with certain functions. When
entering a bit of text as an argument,
be sure to enclose that text in quotation
marks. For example, if you wanted to
add Chicago in front of the year shown
in a particular cell, you could use the
CONCATENATE function (as discussed
later in this lesson), and feed it the text
string “Chicago” (in quotations of course)
as one of its arguments.
The next thing is an open parenthesis, (,
which shows Excel that what follows is
the data the function needs to work, such
as a range of cells to add.
After the opening parenthesis come the
values you feed the function, which are
called arguments . Arguments appear in
parentheses. For example, to tell SUM
what range of cells you want to add, you
type that range in parentheses, like this:
(C5:C9). The argument for a function is
often a range of cells, but it can be other
things, such as an actual value (or a cell
with a value in it), a range name (such as
AprilSales), a date or time, or an
expression (formula) such as .0725/12.
Finally, to show you are done entering
arguments, you type a closing parenthesis,
like this: ).
For example, you might type the function
=SUM(G12:J26) in a cell to add the values in
the range, G12:J26. To enter a function into
a cell, you can either type it manually, or use the
Function wizard, as you’ll see later in this lesson.