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Using the Formula Wizard

Step 1:  Click in the cell where you want the result of the formula to be placed.  Now click on the = sign in the formula bar.

Step 2:  Select the function you wish to use by clicking on the drop-down arrow to the left of the formula bar (next to the word SUM in the diagram above).

If you cannot see the function you require, click on the More Functions... option at the bottom of the list to display a window showing all the available functions:

Step 3:  When you have selected the function, the formula wizard provides a window to help you complete the arguments (expressions in brackets) after the function so that Excel calculates the right result.

Step 4:  For an aggregate function like the SUM function you need to select a range of cells to add together.  Click on the red icon at the right-hand end of the Number 1 box and highlight the range of cells you want to add together.

Step 5:  You will see the range you have highlighted (A2:A6 in this case) appear in a box at the top of your worksheet, there is a red icon at the right-hand end of this box.  When you have selected the correct range, click the red icon at the right-hand end of the box to return to the formula wizard.  If you make a mistake you can delete the range from the box and highlight the cells again before clicking the red icon.

Step 6:  You are now returned to the formula wizard window as above.  If you need to complete other arguments you will have to repeat the procedure above for each of the boxes in the formula wizard.  If you do not want to click on a cell to enter a value (e.g. for a criterion in an IF function) you can type your own value in the box.  Functions like SUM and AVERAGE provide two boxes to fill in initially, this is in case you want to add or average the numbers in two different ranges, you would enter each range in a different box.  Just because there are two boxes does not mean you have to use them all, if you only complete one box Excel will only apply the function to that range.

An example of the result of your formula is shown at the bottom of the formula wizard window and you can see the final formula in the formula bar at the top of the screen.  If you are happy with your formula, click the OK button.

Step 7:  Your formula has been completed and you should see the result in your spreadsheet as below.  If you click on the cell containing the result you will see the formula in the formula bar.

If you want to see the formulas displayed in your spreadsheet (e.g. so you could print them out), hold down your CTRL key and press the ` key at the same time (the ` key is to the left of the number 1 at the top of the keyboard).  Alternatively, you can click on the Tools drop-down menu, choose Options, click on the View tab at the top of the window and click to place a tick beside the word Formulas in the Window options section.  You will now see the formulas displayed.  To display the results of the formulas again either press CTRL and ` or return to the Options window and remove the tick beside Formulas in the View section.  The diagram below shows formula display turned on so our formula is displayed.

Click here to return to the Excel index.