Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Function Argument Types
Function Argument Types
If you examine the preceding examples in this chapter, you’ll notice that all the functions use a
set of parentheses. The information within the parentheses is the function’s arguments. Functions
vary in how they use arguments. A function may use
h No arguments
h One argument
h A fixed number of arguments
h An indeterminate number of arguments
h Optional arguments
For example, the RAND function, which returns a random number between 0 and 1, doesn’t use
an argument. Even if a function doesn’t require an argument, you must provide a set of empty
parentheses, like this:
=RAND()
If a function uses more than one argument, a comma separates the arguments. For example, the
LARGE function, which returns the nth largest value in a range, uses two arguments. The first
argument represents the range; the second argument represents the value for n. The formula
below returns the third-largest value in the range A1:A100:
=LARGE(A1:A100,3)
In some non-English versions of Excel, the character used to separate function
arguments can be something other than a comma — for example, a semicolon. The
examples in this topic use a comma as the argument separator character.
The examples at the beginning of the chapter use cell or range references for arguments. Excel
proves quite flexible when it comes to function arguments, however. The following sections
demonstrate additional argument types for functions.
Names as arguments
As you’ve seen, functions can use cell or range references for their arguments. When Excel
calculates the formula, it simply uses the current contents of the cell or range to perform its
calculations. The SUM function returns the sum of its argument(s). To calculate the sum of the values in
A1:A20, you can use

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