Use AutoComplete when entering formulas

AutoComplete helps you quickly insert functions and arguments while minimizing typing and syntax errors. The AutoComplete menu shows you available options based on context, and you choose what you want to insert into your formula.

Turn on AutoComplete

  1. On the Excel menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Formulas and Lists, click AutoComplete.

  3. Select the Show AutoComplete options for functions and named ranges check box.

Decide when you want the AutoComplete menu to appear

You can always show the AutoComplete menu when you begin typing a formula, or to narrow down the number of possible entries that you see, you can display the menu only after you've typed a certain number of letters.

  1. On the Excel menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Formulas and Lists, click AutoComplete.

  3. In the Show options after typing box, enter the number of letters that you want to type before the AutoComplete menu appears.

Insert an item from the AutoComplete menu

  • When the AutoComplete menu appears, you can use the UP ARROW and DOWN ARROW keys to select an item from the list. Press the TAB key to insert the selected item.

    Notes: 

    • You can also press the RETURN key to insert an item from the AutoComplete menu in Excel for Mac. Using the TAB key is recommended for compatibility with Windows versions of Excel.

    • After you enter an item from the AutoComplete menu, don't forget to type the closing parenthesis for a function, closing bracket for a table reference, or closing quotation mark for a text string if it hasn't been inserted automatically.

Turn on AutoComplete

  1. On the Excel menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Formulas and Lists, click AutoComplete.

  3. Select the Show the AutoComplete menu for functions, named ranges check box.

Decide when you want the AutoComplete menu to appear

You can always show the AutoComplete menu when you begin typing a formula, or to narrow down the number of possible entries that you see, you can display the menu only after you've typed a certain number of letters.

  1. On the Excel menu, click Preferences.

  2. Under Formulas and Lists, click AutoComplete.

  3. In the Show the menu only after I've typed box, enter the number of letters that you want to type before the AutoComplete menu appears.

    Tip: You can also show the AutoComplete menu by pressing CONTROL + OPTION + DOWN ARROW .

Insert an item from the AutoComplete menu

  • When the AutoComplete menu appears, you can use the UP ARROW and DOWN ARROW keys to select an item from the list. Press the TAB key to insert the selected item.

    Notes: 

    • You can also press the RETURN key to insert an item from the AutoComplete menu in Excel for Mac. Using the TAB key is recommended for compatibility with Windows versions of Excel.

    • After you enter an item from the AutoComplete menu, don't forget to type the closing parenthesis for a function, closing bracket for a table reference, or closing quotation mark for a text string if it hasn't been inserted automatically.

See also

Enter a formula

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