Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Working with Functions
Tracing precedents: Select a cell with a formula in it and trace the
formula’s precedents to find out which cells are computed to produce the
results of the formula. Trace precedents when you want to find out
where a formula gets its computation data. Cell tracer arrows point from
the referenced cells to the cell with the formula results in it.
To trace precedents, go to the Formulas tab and click the Trace
Precedents button (you may have to click the Formula Auditing button
first, depending on the size of your screen).
Tracing dependents: Select a cell and trace its dependents to find out
which cells contain formulas that use data from the cell you selected.
Cell tracer arrows point from the cell you selected to cells with formula
results in them. Trace dependents when you want to find out how the
data in a cell contributes to formulas elsewhere in the worksheet. The
cell you select can contain a constant value or a formula in its own right
(and contribute its results to another formula).
To trace dependents, go to the Formulas tab and click the Trace
Dependents button (you may have to click the Formula Auditing button
first, depending on the size of your screen).
To remove the cell tracer arrows from a worksheet, go to the Formulas tab
and click the Remove Arrows button. You can open the drop-down list on
this button and choose Remove Precedent Arrows or Remove Dependent
Arrows to remove only cell-precedent or cell-dependent tracer arrows.
Book III
Chapter 3
Working with Functions
A function is a canned formula that comes with Excel. Excel offers hundreds
of functions, some of which are very obscure and fit only for use by rocket
scientists or securities analysts. Other functions are very practical. For
example, you can use the SUM function to quickly total the numbers in a
range of cells. Rather than enter =C2+C3+C4+C5 on the Formula bar, you
can enter =SUM(C2:C5), which tells Excel to total the numbers in cell C2,
C3, C4, and C5. To obtain the product of the number in cell G4 and .06,
you can use the PRODUCT function and enter =PRODUCT(G4,.06) on the
Formula bar.
Table 3-3 lists the most common functions. To get an idea of the numerous
functions that Excel offers, go to the Formulas tab and click the Insert Function
button. You see the Insert Function dialog box shown in Figure 3-12. (Later in
this chapter, I show you how this dialog box can help with using functions in
formulas.) Choose a function category in the dialog box, choose a function
name, and read the description. You can click the Help on This Function link
to open the Excel Help window and get a thorough description of a function
and how it’s used.

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