Create a formula by using a function

You can create a formula to calculate values in your worksheet by using a function. For example, the formulas =SUM(A1:A2) and SUM(A1,A2) both use the SUM function to add the values in cells A1 and A2. Formulas always start with an equal sign (=).

  1. Click the cell in which you want to enter the formula.

  2. To start the formula with the function, click Insert Function Button image.

    Excel inserts the equal sign (=) for you.

  3. In the Or select a category box, select All.

    If you are familiar with the function categories, you can also select a category.

    If you're not sure which function to use, you can type a question that describes what you want to do in the Search for a function box (for example, "add numbers" returns the SUM function).

    Tip:  For a list of available functions, see Excel functions (alphabetical) or Excel functions (by category).

  4. In the Select a function box, select the function that you want to use, and then click OK.

  5. In the argument boxes that are displayed for the function you selected, enter the values, text strings, or cell references you want.

    Instead of typing cell references, you can also select the cells that you want to reference. Click Button image to expand the dialog box again.

    Tip:  For more information about the function and its arguments, click Help on this function.

  6. After you complete the arguments for the formula, click OK.

Tip:  If you frequently use functions, you can enter your formulas directly on the worksheet. After you type the equal sign (=) and the function name, you can get information about the formula syntax and the function arguments by pressing F1.

Examples

Copy the table to cell A1 in a blank worksheet in Excel to work with these examples of formulas that use functions.

Data

5

4

2

6

3

8

7

1

Formula

Description

Result

'=SUM(A:A)

Adds all numbers in column A

=SUM(A:A)

'=AVERAGE(A1:B4)

Averages all numbers in the range A1:B4

=AVERAGE(A1:B4)

Top of Page

Was this information helpful?

How can we improve it?

How can we improve it?

To protect your privacy, please do not include contact information in your feedback. Review our privacy policy.

Thank you for your feedback!