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Using Microsoft Excel

Explains the basics of common features in Microsoft Excel for PC.

Inserting Functions

There are several ways to insert functions. Before you do anything, make sure your cursor is in the cell in which you want the result. Once there, choose one of the methods below to insert your function:

  • On the Home ribbon, click on the arrow next to the AutoSum icon and select More Functions

  • Go to the Formulas ribbon – choose either the Insert Function icon to bring up the Insert Function dialog box (same dialog box you would get with the first method), or click the arrow next to the correct category in the Function Library Group, and then choose the desired function. 


The Insert Function dialog box that appears gives you a list of operations that Excel can perform.

Choose a category from "select a category" (which includes an option to show all), and then choose a particular function from the "Select a function".

Another dialog box opens which asks you to select the cells you would like to involve in the formula. To select, use the mouse to click on the first cell and drag through the cells you would like to add. Note that for each function, this second window will look different.

If you’re not sure how to use a particular function, you can click the "Help on this function" link at the bottom of the Insert Function dialog box, and that will bring up Excel’s Help.

Autofill & Constant Reference

Once the function is in the cell, you can copy and then paste it into another cell to do the same function for that different range of cells. You can also use the AutoFill command (click cell with the function, then drag to the right or down). The formula adjusts automatically for the new values.

As mentioned before, if you want a constant reference (for example, each column should be divided by a certain cell’s data), add a dollar sign ($) in front that cell’s reference in the Formula bar. For example, if =D8*$P$8 is in the Formula bar and you AutoFill from this cell, the next cell would read =D9*$P$8, changing the first cell while keeping the second cell reference constant – otherwise, it would read =D9*P9.

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