Finding functions in Excel’s Functions Library

Excel's Functions Library

Excel has hundreds of different functions that you can use with your data. Functions can be found grouped into different categories in the Functions Library. Click the Formulas tab to access the Functions Library. Here you’ll see the following options and categories:

  • Insert Function - lets you search for a function.
  • AutoSum - gives quick access to popular functions.
  • Recently Used - gives quick access to the functions you’ve recently used.
  • Financial - financial functions such as interest rate for a loan (RATE).
  • Logical - functions that check the arguments for a condition or value. For example, the IF function which applies to cells that meet a certain condition, such as value of £50 or more.
  • Text - functions that work with text in arguments, such LOWER which changes text to lowercase.
  • Date & Time - functions that work with dates and time such as NOW which shows the current date.
  • Lookup & Reference - functions that give results for finding data and adding references.
  • Math & Trig - functions for mathematical arguments such as rounding values (ROUND).
  • More Functions - lists further categories including Statistical; Engineering; Cube; Information; and Compatibility.

Using the Insert Function button

If you’re unsure which Excel function to use to complete a task, or you can’t remember the name of a function, the Insert Function button on the Formulas tab can help. You can search for a function by typing a description of what you want and it also provides information about the arguments that the function uses.


Step 1  Select the cell where you want the answer to your function to appear.

Step 2  On the Formulas tab, click Insert Function.

Step 3  In the Insert Function dialog box, type a brief description of the function you’re looking for and click Go.

Step 4  Select a function in the Select a Function list box. You’ll see a description of the selected function at the bottom of the dialog box.

Step 5  Click OK.

Step 6  In the Function Arguments dialog box that appears, you can enter the arguments for the function. Click in the first field and then enter or select the cell(s) you want to use.

Step 7  Click in the next field and enter or select the cell(s) you wish to use.

Step 8  Click OK and the result will appear in the cell you selected in step 1.

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