Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Ways to Enter a Function into a Formula
Let Excel insert functions for you
Most of the time, you’re on your own when it comes to inserting functions. However, at least
three situations can arise in which Excel will enter functions for you automatically:
When you choose Formulas➜Function Library➜AutoSum (or Home ➜Editing➜AutoSum),
Excel does a quick check of the surrounding cells. It then proposes a formula that uses the
SUM function. If Excel guessed your intentions correctly, just press Enter to accept the
proposed formula(s). If Excel guessed incorrectly, you can simply select the range with
your mouse to override Excel’s suggestion (or press Esc to cancel the AutoSum).
You can preselect the cells to be included in an AutoSum rather than let Excel guess which
cells you want. To insert a SUM function in cell A11 that sums A1:A10, select A1:A11 and then
click the AutoSum button.
The AutoSum button displays an arrow that, when clicked, displays additional functions.
For example, you can use this button to insert a formula that uses the AVERAGE function.
When you’re working with a table (created by using Insert➜Tables➜Table), you can
choose Table Tools➜Design➜Total Row, and Excel displays a new row at the bottom of
the table that contains summary formulas for the columns. See Chapter 9 for more
information about tables.
When you choose Data➜Data Tools➜Outline➜Subtotal, Excel displays a dialog box that
enables you to specify some options. Then it proceeds to insert rows and enter some
formulas automatically. These formulas use the SUBTOTAL function.
More tips for entering functions
The following list contains some additional tips to keep in mind when you use the Insert Function
dialog box to enter functions:
h Click the Help on This Function hyperlink at any time to get help about the function that
you selected (see Figure 4-6).
h If the active cell already contains a formula that uses a function, clicking the Insert
Function button displays the Function Arguments dialog box.
h You can use the Insert Function dialog box to insert a function into an existing formula.
Just edit the formula and move the insertion point to the location where you want to
insert the function. Then open the Insert Function dialog box and select the function.
h If you change your mind about entering a function, click Cancel.
h The number of arguments used by the function that you select determines the number of
boxes that you see in the Function Arguments dialog box. If a function uses no
arguments, you won’t see any boxes. If the function uses a variable number of arguments (as
with the AVERAGE function), Excel adds a new box every time you enter an optional
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