Building Excel 2010 Formulas with the Insert Function Dialog Box

The Insert Function dialog box in Excel 2010 simplifies the task of using functions in your Excel worksheets. The Insert Function dialog box helps you locate the proper function for the task at hand and also provides information about the arguments that the function takes. If you use the Insert Function dialog box, you don’t have to type functions directly into worksheet cells. Instead, the dialog box guides you through a (mostly) point-and-click procedure.

Arguments are pieces of information that functions use to calculate and return a value.

1Display the Insert Function dialog box.

The most common ways to do this are by clicking the Insert Function button on the Formulas tab or by clicking the Insert Function button (which looks like fx) on the Formula bar. You can also access the Insert Function dialog box by clicking the small arrow at the bottom of the AutoSum button on the Formulas tab of the Ribbon and selecting More Functions.

2Select a function category in the Select a Category list.

If you don’t know which category to choose, select All to display all functions in the Select a Function list. You also can type a brief description in the Search for a Function box and click Go.

3Select the desired function in the Select a Function list box.

A description of the selected function, along with the function syntax, appears at the bottom of the dialog box.

4Click OK.

The Function Arguments dialog box appears. This is where you enter or select the arguments for the function. Click the Help on This Function link at the bottom of the dialog box for more details on the function.

5Enter the function arguments and click OK.

Arguments may be references to cells, text or numbers that you type directly into the text boxes, or even other formulas. Click Cancel if you want to return to the worksheet without entering a function.