Excel: The show function Wizard



Although you are already familiar with the use of simple mathematical formulas in Excel, in one of your spreadsheets, you now want to perform a somewhat more complex analysis of your data. In doing so, you want to make use of various Excel functions. Since you are not familiar with how some functions are structured, you want to use the excel show function  Wizard to assist you.

In this learning module, you will be shown how to use Excel’s Function Wizard.

The excel show function: HOW DOES WIZARD WORK?

The excel show Function Wizard is a small application that helps you make use of Excel functions. To enter a function in a cell, proceed as you would enter a formula; that is, click on the cell where you want to enter the function. In our example, we are going to enter a function in B15. Now click thebutton (as shown) just to the left of the formula bar:


This causes the excel show Function Wizard (the Insert Function dialog box) to appear:


In the Search for a function: input box, you can either enter the name of the function you are looking for or a very brief description of it. Then click Go. The function you are seeking may then be listed below in the Select a function: box.

The Or select a category: area can also help you find and select the function you want to use. More than 200 Excel functions are organized into thirteen (13) categories. Click the small black arrow to see the list. If you click on a category, the functions belonging to it will be listed below in the Select a function: box.

Functions from which you may chooset are listed in the Select a function: box. If you’ve selected a category, as mentioned above, only functions belonging to that category will be listed. You can also choose the All category to see an alphabetical list of all functions, or the Most Recently Used category, or one of the more specific specific categories, such as Math & Trig category. Before you can use any function, however, you must first select it in this box.

Below the Select a function: box, you can read a short description of the selected function. If you need further details regarding that function, click the Help on this function link near the bottom of the dialog box.

Once you’ve found and selected the function you wish to use, click OK. In our current example, we selected the MAX function. You will be taken to the second step of the excel show Function Wizard. In the Function Arguments dialog box, you are given help in specifying the function’s arguments.


The excel show Function Wizard often suggests which cell or cells to process. In the case of our current example, the cell range B4:B14 was suggested for the Number1 argument. The first values of the list appear in curly brackets to the right of the input box, while the result (12500) appears about halfway down the dialog box. Just beneath that is another short description and explanation of the function.

If the cell range that was automatically suggested is incorrect, you can use your mouse to select a different cell range in the table. Here, we are using the mouse to select B4 to B9. Your new cell range will automatically be included in the corresponding argument field.


While you are selecting a new cell range, the excel show Function Wizard dialog box will be minimized so that you will only see the row that you are editing. When you release the mouse button, the dialog box will be restored to its full size.

With some functions, as with the MAX function shown here, you may enter further cells or cell ranges. Observe the additional argument entry box – Number2 – in the Function Arguments dialog box. When you click in it, you can select another cell range to include in determining the maximum value. If you enter a second argument, a third argument row will appear (Number3), and so on… The MAX function allows you to analyze up to 30 cells or cell ranges. Excel differentiates between required arguments that are always displayed in bold (such as the Number1 in this example) and optional arguments, not displayed in bold, here: Number2.


When you have specified all arguments, click OK. The completed function will be entered into the cell. Instead of clicking OK, you can just press [Enter].


Because you are still positioned in the cell, the complete function you entered can be seen in the formula bar:


You can read this as follows: What is the highest value in the cell range B4 to B14?

If, sometime later, you want to modify the existing function, you can select the cell containing the function (here: B15) and start the excel show Function Wizard again. This will bring up your function with its current arguments, which you may change as you like.


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