Excel Functions and Formulas – The Function Wizard
Excel formulas are used to do mathematical operations. Operations could be from very simple to very complex. The main advantage of formulas is that you do not have to take your calculator and enter large numbers carefully and do the calculations to get the result. Even you have to change the numbers frequently; you need to go to different sheets where these changes are to be applied in order to calculate new values. But if you go for functions, everything would be taken care by Excel formulas.
When you enter formulas in the cell or in the formula bar, you need to start with an equal sign. Or you can choose the apt function from different categories available like Logical, Financial etc under Formulas tab. You can insert functions by also clicking function symbol (fx) that is shown to the left of formula bar or by clicking “Insert Function” option on “Formulas” tab. If you do this, you will get an Insert Function dialogue box.
If you type a short description of what you want to perform in the area given and click Go, then different functions that might perform the job will be listed out in Select a function area. If you know the category of the function, then you can use the Select a category drop down menu to get more details. If you have recently used the function, then you can click on Most Recently Used or if you do not know the category exactly, then you can click All. Using two of the above methods, you can get a list of functions that might meet your requirement. You can clearly know what each function in the list does by clicking on the particular function. A short description would be displayed just below the list of functions.
Once you find the function that you need, you just have to select the function and then click OK. You will get a Function Arguments dialogue box as shown below. This will help you enter the arguments easily and correctly. Once you finished entering arguments, you need to click OK and now you are done with a function.
If you wish to edit the function which is already completed, then select the cell that contains the function and go to the formula bar or click on the fx icon to edit it. If you wish to include any of the recently used functions again, you don’t have to go through Insert Function option. Just click the = sign in the cell where you need to add the function. Then, the area that displays the cell name will display the most recently used function name. This area exists at the extreme left hand side of formula bar. You could also find a drop down menu next to function name that consists of a list of most recently used functions. You just have to select the function, so that you will directly go to the Function Arguments dialogue box.
The easiest option if you do not know the correct syntax of function is that just type an = sign in any of the cell and the beginning letter of the function. Then, you will get a list of functions starting with the particular letter. If you click any of the functions, then you could get a short description with syntax and parameters to be used. For example, if you type ‘=a’, then it will list out all functions starting with a. So you can get the function you are looking for from the list. Thus, you need not have to worry though you do not whether a function exists to meet your requirement or the name of the function to do your job.
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