Search for a Worksheet Function in Excel

 Jul 06, 2016

Excel has over 350 worksheet functions that provide a massive array of different uses. From the simple =PI() function that refers to the value of Pi (3.14159265358979) to the =MIRR() function that, according to Excel’s help system, “returns the internal rate of return for a series of periodic cash flows, considering both cost of investment and interest on reinvestment of cash”.

Although the syntax of worksheet functions is consistent, many of them have idiosyncrasies or just need detailed explanation to be able to use them effectively.

All commercial computer programs provide a help system, but these often lack detail and aren’t really good when troubleshooting, in my experience. Excel’s help on functions, however, is actually pretty good.

The ability to search for a function starts when a user clicks either the More Functions… option in the AutoSum menu or one of the two Insert Function buttons (one on the Formulas tab of the Ribbon and one immediately to the left of the Formula Bar):

The Insert Function dialog box then appears and has a search box at the top. You can type key words in this box the same way you would use a search engine. Once you click the Go button (or press Enter), the dialog box should display a list of recommended functions. Help on that function can be accessed by clicking the blue hyperlink at the bottom left that says Help on this Function.

When the user then clicks OK, another dialog appears so that the function’s Arguments can be entered and you're done.

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About the Author:

Ben Kirk  

With over 16 years of experience working as a Desktop Applications specialist for a number of large education services providers, Ben is one of New Horizons most skilled and dynamic instructors. With his Advanced Diploma of Business Skills alongside his practical experience and expertise, Ben is able to provide insight and guidance to students at all skill levels across the entire Microsoft Office suite.

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