How to Select an Excel Function That Uses Arguments - dummies

How to Select an Excel Function That Uses Arguments

By Ken Bluttman

Most Excel functions take arguments to provide the information that the functions need to perform their calculations. Some functions use a single argument; others use many. Taking arguments and using arguments are interchangeable terms. Most functions take arguments, but the number of arguments depends on the actual function. Some functions take a single argument, and some can take up to 255.

The following example shows how to use the Insert Function dialog box to enter a function that does use arguments. The example uses the PRODUCT function. Here’s how to enter the function and its arguments:

  1. Position the cursor in the cell where you want the results to appear.

  2. Click the Insert Function button on the Ribbon.

    Doing this opens the Insert Function dialog box.

  3. Select Math & Trig in the Or Select a Category drop-down menu.

  4. Scroll through the Select a Function list until you see the PRODUCT function and then click it.

    This figure shows what the screen looks like.

    Preparing to multiply some numbers with the PRODUCT function.
    Preparing to multiply some numbers with the PRODUCT function.
  5. Click the OK button.

    The Insert Function dialog box closes, and the Function Arguments dialog box opens. The following figure shows what the screen looks like. The dialog box tells you that this function can take up to 255 arguments, yet there appears to be room for only 2. As you enter arguments, the dialog box provides a scroll bar to manage multiple arguments.

    Ready to input function arguments.
    Ready to input function arguments.
  6. In the Function Arguments dialog box, enter a number in the Number1 box.

  7. Enter another number in the Number2 box.

    You are entering actual arguments. As you enter numbers in the dialog box, a scroll bar appears, letting you add arguments. Enter as many as you like, up to 255. This figure shows how the eight arguments are entered. Also look at the bottom left of the dialog box. As you enter functions, the formula result is instantly calculated. Wouldn’t it be nice to be that smart?

    Getting instant results in the Function Arguments dialog box.
    Getting instant results in the Function Arguments dialog box.
  8. Click OK to complete the function entry.

    This figure shows the worksheet’s result.

    Getting the final answer from the function.
    Getting the final answer from the function.