When you’re manually writing a function-based formula in a cell, you’re prone to make syntax errors. Also, it requires you to remember the syntax for each function. The Microsoft Excel Function Wizard, on the other hand, provides the user with a list of predefined formulas and makes them easy to implement. It is perfect for quickly creating valid functions.

The function wizard is handy when you can’t remember which function to use, or how to use it. In this article, we’ll show you how to use Insert Function Wizard in Excel.

How to create a formula in Excel by using the Insert Function Wizard

An Excel function is a predefined formula or an expression that performs specific calculations in a cell or a range of cells.

Function Wizard allows you to access all Excel’s pre-defined data analysis functions.

First, select the cell where you the output (answer) to appear.

Then to open the function wizard, go to the Formulas tab and click the ‘Insert Function’ option on the Function Library group. Or, you can click the Insert Function button ‘fx’ to the left of the formula bar.

You can also choose a function from any one of the categories available in the ‘Function Library’ under the Formulas tab.

Alternatively, type an equal sign (=) in the cell where you want the output and select a function from the drop-down (from the Name box) to the left of the formula bar.

This drop-down menu will display 10 most recently used functions by you.

Inserting an Excel Function

The structure of a function always starts with an equal sign (=), followed by the function name, and the parameters of the function enclosed in parentheses.

When the Insert function wizard opens up, you can insert a function in three different ways.

If you already know the function name, enter it in the ‘Search for a function’ field and click the ‘Go’ button.

If you forgot the function or not sure exactly what function you need to use, type a brief description of what you want to do in the ‘Search for a function’ field and click ‘Go’. For example, you can type something like this: ‘remove space’ for removing extra spaces in the text string, or ‘current date and time’ for returning the current date and time.

Although you won’t find an exact match for the description, you would at least get a list of closely related functions in the ‘Select a function’ box. If you click on a function, you can read a short description of that function right under the ‘Select a function’ box.

If you know what category the function belongs to, click on the drop-down menu next to ‘Select a category’ and pick one of the 13 categories listed there. All the functions under the selected category will be listed in the ‘Select a function’ box.

If you want to know more about the selected function, click the ‘Help on this function’ link at the bottom left corner of the dialog box. This will take you to the Microsoft ‘Support’ page where you can learn the description of the formula syntax and usage of the function.

Once you’ve found the right function for your task, select it and click ‘OK’.

Specify the Arguments

Function arguments are the values that functions need to perform calculations, they can be numbers, text strings, logical values, arrays, error values, or cell references. They can also use constants, formulas, or other functions as arguments.

For example, we’ll see how to insert SUM (one of the most frequently used functions in Excel) in the formula to add all the values in a range of cells.

Once you selected a function in the function ‘Insert Function’ wizard and clicked ‘OK’, it will take you to another wizard called ‘Function Arguments’.

There, you need to enter the function’s arguments. To enter an argument, just type a cell reference or a range, or constants directly into the argument box. You can insert as many arguments as you want by clicking on the next box.

Alternatively, click in the argument’s box, and then select a cell or a range of cells in the spreadsheet using the mouse. Then, click ‘OK’.

After you have specified all the arguments, click the ‘OK’ button. The answer will be displayed in the selected cell and the completed formula will be displayed in the Formula bar.