How to Enter a Function in Excel with the Function Command - dummies

How to Enter a Function in Excel with the Function Command

By Stephen L. Nelson, E. C. Nelson

If you’re not familiar with how a function works in Excel — maybe you’re not even sure what function that you want to use — you need to use the Formulas tab’s Insert Function command to find the function and then correctly identify the arguments.

To use the Function Wizard command in this manner, follow these steps:

1Position the cell selector at the cell into which you want to place the function formula.

You do this in the usual way. For example, you can click the cell. Or you can use the navigation keys, such as the arrow keys, to move the cell selector to the cell.

2Choose the Formulas tab’s Function Wizard command.

Excel displays the Insert Function dialog box.

3In the Search for a Function text box, type a brief description of what you want to calculate by using a function.

For example, if you want to calculate a standard deviation for a sample, type something like standard deviation.

4Click the Go button.

In the Select a Function list box, Excel displays a list of the functions that might just work for you.

Note: The STDEVPA function isn’t a database function.

5Find the right function.

To find the right function for your purposes, first select a function in the Select a Function list. Then read the full description of the function, which appears beneath the function list. If the function you select isn’t the one you want, select another function and read its description. Repeat this process until you find the right function.

If you get to the end of the list of functions and still haven’t found what you want, consider repeating Step 3, but this time use a different (and hopefully better) description of the calculation you want to make.

6After you find the function you want, select it and then click OK.

Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog box.

7Supply the arguments.

To supply the arguments that a function needs, click an argument text box (Value1 and Value2). Next, read the argument description, which appears at the bottom of the dialog box. Then supply the argument by entering a value, formula, or cell or range reference into the argument text box.

If a function needs more than one argument, repeat this step for each argument.

Excel calculates the function result based on the arguments that you enter and displays this value at the bottom of the dialog box next to Formula Result =.

8If you need help with a particular function, browse the Excel Help information.

If you need help using some function, your first resource should be to click the Help on This Function hyperlink, which appears in the bottom-left corner of the Function Arguments dialog box. You can see the help information that Excel displays for the STDEVPA function.

9When you’re satisfied with the arguments that you enter in the Function Arguments dialog box, click OK.

And now it’s party time.