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