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How to enter functions

In this video, we'll look at several ways to to enter Excel functions.

Let's take a look.

If you know the function name, the easiest way to enter a function is just to enter an equal sign and start typing.

For example, if I want to get the average of these test scores with the AVERAGE function, I can start typing the name.

Excel will show a drop-downlist of possible functions below, by matching on the characters you've already typed. As you type additional characters, Excel will shorten the list.

To move through the list of suggestions manually, use the up and down arrow keys.

Note that Excel will also display a brief description of each function to the right. You can move this tip around if you like.

Once the function you want is highlighted, press the tab key to confirm your choice and enter the function.

Excel will enter the full function name and an opening parentheses, and leave the cursor inside, ready to add the first argument.

After you add the arguments you need, close the parentheses and press enter.

Some functions require multiple arguments. For example, the VLOOKUP function accepts 4 arguments, one of which is optional.

Arguments are separated by commas.

Note that the argument you're working with will be displayed in bold in the help text that appears below the function.

Another way to enter functions is to use the controls on the Formulas tab of the ribbon. This is a good way to brows available functions in categories.

When you insert a function this way, excel will display the Function Arguments dialog box.

This window gives you help on each argument, and will display the current value of the argument as well. Once you've entered all required arguments, you'll see the result displayed before you enter the function.

Press OK to enter the function.

Once a function is entered, you can get back to the Function Arguments dialog again whenever you like by click the insert function button at the left of the formula bar.

Finally, you can also insert a function by clicking the Insert Function button in the formula bar.

This opens the Insert Function dialog box. From here, you can browse functions by categories, or search for the function you want. Once you find the function you want and click OK, Excel will display the function arguments dialog where you can finish entering the function.

The shortcut for Insert Function is Shift + F3.

Course 
Core Formula

Related shortcuts

Author 
Dave Bruns