Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**How to Make Your Formulas Function Even Better**

Just as with a formula you build yourself, each function you use must start

with an equal sign (=) so that Excel knows to enter the function as a formula

rather than as text. Following the equal sign, you enter the name of the

function (in uppercase or lowercase — it doesn’t matter, as long as you spell the

name correctly). Following the name of the function, you enter the arguments

required to perform the calculations. All function arguments are enclosed in

a pair of parentheses.

If you type the function directly in a cell, remember not to insert spaces

between the equal sign, function name, and the arguments enclosed in

parentheses. Some functions use more than one value when performing their

designated calculations. When this is the case, you separate each function with a

comma (not a space).

After you type the equal sign and begin typing the first few letters of the

name of the function you want to use, a drop-down list showing all the

functions that begin with the letters you’ve typed appears immediately beneath

the cell. When you see the name of the function you want to use on this list,

double-click it and Excel finishes entering the function name in the cell and

on the Formula bar as well as adding the left parenthesis that marks the

beginning of the arguments for the function.

Excel then displays all the arguments that the function takes beneath the cell,

and you can indicate any cell or cell range that you want to use as the first

argument by either pointing to it or typing its cell or range references. When

the function uses more than one argument, you can point to the cells or cell

ranges or enter the addresses for the second argument right after you enter a

comma (,) to complete the first argument.

After you finish entering the last argument, you need to close off the

function by typing a right parenthesis to mark the end of the argument list. The

display of the function name along with its arguments that appeared beneath

the cell when you first selected the function from the drop-down list then

disappears. Click the Enter button or press Enter (or the appropriate arrow key)

to then insert the function into the cell and have Excel calculate the answer.

Inserting a function into a formula

with the Insert Function button

Although you can enter a function by typing it directly in a cell, Excel

provides an Insert Function command button on the Formula bar you can use to

select any of Excel’s functions. When you select this button, Excel opens the