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.