Excel Function Wizard

How to find and use all the functions and formula within Excel using the Excel Function Wizard

NEW: Free Excel Fundamentals tutorials with downloadable exercises covering the Function Wizard, Formula Auditing, $ signs in Excel and the IF function.


Excel Function Wizard

You can avoid having to remember the complex syntax for each function, and to find out more about functions you come across in spreadsheets. This can be achieved with the Excel Function Wizard.

FUNCTION WIZARD is Excel’s ways of helping developers and users understand and use functions.

To activate

  • you can either click on this fx button or
  • you can say Insert
  • Function,
  • when you click on that a menu similar to this will appear, depending on the version of Excel you have,
  • now what you’ll have here is a couple of categories, and all the functions that sit in there.
  • So for example if you click on Look up &Reference all the functions that exist in that section will pop up and you can look through this and actually by looking at the description see if it meets what you need,

I highly recommend you have a look at these every now and again, or look at our website and get some training material on some of the more useful functions.

How this helps as well is, if you have a spreadsheet with a function in it that you don’t fully understand, you can actually backtrack into the FUNCTION WIZARD to find out what is actually happening. So for example

  • if we click on this cell, we’ll see the function is a simple IF function,
  • if you click on the FUNCTION WIZARD in there, up pops up the IF function arguments and it explains that that is the logical tests happening,
  • if its true that’s what’s happening
  • and if it false that’s what’s happens and it’ll explain what the If function does,

Now lets say you understand the If function, but you don’t know what this ABS does.

  • Click in the ABS itself
  • click on the FUNCTION WIZARD
  • and up will pop that function argument.

So there’s the cells being used, but it tells you that ABS returns the absolute value of a number – that is a number without its sign. So you can quickly understand what is happening and look into it.

Now different versions of Excel handle that slightly differently. What you might find is that on your version the way it’ll do it is

  • once you’ve clicked in it
  • you’ll be able to click over there
  • and there’ll be a little fx next door to it ,and you can click it again, all depends on the version

But this allows you understand any function that is used in a spreadsheet, and so you don’t have to worry about running back to the developer to learn what functions they have actually used