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Part 3. Using Excel > Task 16 How to Enter Functions

Task 16 How to Enter Functions

As you learned in previous tasks, a function is a built-in formula. A function saves you from spending time setting up the math yourself. Excel has over 300 functions available, so you're sure to find one for the type of mathematical calculation you want to perform. To use a function in a formula, type =, the function name, and the arguments for that function surrounded by parentheses, like this: =SUM(C4:C22). Separate each pair of arguments with a comma. When you type a function name, its arguments appear in a ScreenTip to help you enter them in the correct order. If you need more help, the Insert Functions dialog box is one click away.

  1. Click Insert Function Button

    Click the cell in which you want to result of the function to appear. Then click the Insert Function button on the Formula bar. The Insert Function dialog box opens.



  2. Select a Function

    The dialog box offers two ways to find a particular function: Type a description of what you want to calculate and click Go. Possible matches are listed in the Select a function pane. Alternatively, select a category from the drop-down list; the list of functions in the bottom pane adjusts to show appropriate matches. Scroll through the list and click a function; a description of the selected function appears at the bottom of the dialog box. When you have located the function you want, click OK.



  3. Enter the First Argument

    A Function Arguments dialog box opens, optimized for the function you selected in Step 2. The steps in this task demonstrate the IF function. The IF function requires three arguments: a statement to be evaluated, the action to take if the statement proves true, and the action to take if the statement is false. Type or click cells to enter the arguments. (Drag the dialog box out of the way if necessary to select cells.)



  4. Enter Value if False

    Click in the second argument box and type the value you want to appear if the test is true. I want the word Over to appear if the sales are equal or over the goal amount. Notice that the text must be contained in quotation marks: "Over".



  5. Enter Value if True

    Click in the third argument box and type the value you want to appear if the test is false. I want the word Under to appear if the sales are under the goal amount. Notice that as you click in each argument text box, a description of that argument appears at the bottom of the dialog box.)



  6. Complete the Formula

    Click OK to close the Function Arguments dialog box and complete the formula. The formula result appears in the worksheet, and the formula itself, including the function, appears in the Formula bar.




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