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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Creating a Formula Using Formula AutoComplete

To minimize typing and syntax errors, you can create and edit formulas with Formula AutoComplete. After you type an = (equal sign) and begin typing to start a formula, Excel displays a dynamic drop-down list of valid functions, arguments, defined names, table names, special item specifiers—including [ (open bracket),, (comma), : (colon)—and text string that match the letters you type. An argument is the cell references or values in a formula that contribute to the result. Each function uses function-specific arguments, which may include numeric values, text values, cell references, ranges of cells, and so on.

Enter Items in a Formula Using Formula AutoComplete

  • yellow-01.jpg Click the cell where you want to enter a formula.
  • yellow-02.jpg Type = (an equal sign), and beginning letters or a display trigger to start Formula AutoComplete.

    For example, type su to display all value items, such as SUBTOTAL and SUM.

    The text before the insertion point is used to display the values in the drop-down list.

  • yellow-03.jpg As you type, a drop-down scrollable list of valid items is displayed.

    Icons represent the type of entry, such as a function or table reference, and a ScreenTip appears next to a selected item.

  • yellow-04.jpg To insert the selected item in the drop-down list into the formula, press Tab or double-click the item.

Use the Keyboard to Navigate

Using the keyboard, you can navigate the Formula AutoComplete drop-down list to quickly find the entry you want.

  • Refer to the table for keyboard shortcuts for navigating the Formula AutoComplete drop-down list.

Keys For Navigating AutoComplete List

Press This Key

To Move

Left arrow

Move the insertion point to the left

Right arrow

Move the insertion point to the right

Up arrow

Move the selection up one item

Down arrow

Move the selection down one item


Select the last item


Select the first item

Page Down

Move down one page and select a new item

Page Up

Move up one page and select a new item


Close the drop-down list

Alt+Down arrow

Turn on or off Formula AutoComplete

Turn on Formula AutoComplete

  • yellow-01.jpg Click the File tab, and then click Options.
  • yellow-02.jpg In the left pane, click Formulas.
  • yellow-03.jpg Select the Formula AutoComplete check box.
  • yellow-04.jpg Click OK.
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