Discover New Functions Using the fx Button

January 13, 2022 - by Bill Jelen

Discover New Functions Using the fx Button

Problem: There are hundreds of functions available in Excel. I know that I want to find a function to calculate a car payment, but I have no clue which function might do this.

Strategy: To find a function, you can click the Insert Function (fx) button. This button is always available to the left of the formula bar, and it appears 12 additional times in Excel, mostly on the Formulas tab. This figure shows three instances of the fx button. You can click this button to bring up the Insert Function dialog.

If you open the AutoSum drop-down, the last entry is More Functions. This is the same as choosing the italics "fx" icon to the left of the Formula Bar. It is also the same as choosing the Insert Function icon on the left side of the Formulas tab.
Figure 272. Three of the 13 fx icons.

By default, the Insert Function dialog lists the most recently used functions. All of Excel’s functions are categorized into these categories: Financial, Date & Time, Math & Trig, Statistical, Lookup & Reference, Database, Text, Logical, Information, Cube, and Engineering. It can be difficult to correctly guess the category. SUM is a Math & Trig function, yet AVERAGE is a Statistical function. Rather than browse each category, you can type a few words in the search box and click Go. Excel will show you the relevant functions to choose from. Note this logic changed in 2019. You would have to type loan payment instead of car payment to find the PMT function.

Using the Search for a Function box in the Insert Function dialog, type Loan Payment. The functions related to Loans appear.
Figure 273. Search for a function.

This article is an excerpt from Power Excel With MrExcel

Title photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash

Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of:
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