Here are some important tips:

  • Consider starting all new or complicated functions by clicking the fx button on the formula bar (Excel 2002+) or toolbar (Excel 2000). The Insert Function dialog (called the Paste Function in dialog Excel 2000) will allow you to search for and get help on each function. Once you've located the correct function, the "wizard" will provide a dialog listing each argument that is required, and giving you an explanation of each. To select an argument, just type a named reference or click/drag on your sheet--your selection will end up in the argument's text box.
  • View (and print) your formulas by choosing Tools → Options and clicking the View tab. Select Formulas.
  • For more advanced formula views, turn on Formula Auditing. Choose Tools ? Formula Auditing ? Formula Auditing Mode (shortcut: CTRL+'). Use the Formula Auditing toolbar to Trace Precedents and Trace Dependents to see what "goes into" each formula and where each cell "goes", math-wise.
    • In older versions of Excel, use the Tools ? Auditing ? Show Auditing Toolbar command.
  • Make sure you have the Analysis Toolpack loaded. This is done by choosing Tools ? Add-Ins and adding the Analysis Toolpack (you do not need the Analysis Toolpack for VBA). This add-in provides important functions like WEEKNUM and WORKDAYS, CONVERT, ISEVEN and ISODD, DURATION and COMPLEX. The ICON site has information about these functions.
  • Type =FunctionName( then click the fx button (= button in Excel 2000) on the function toolbar for help on a specific function.