# 18.1: Insert Function (or Introduction to Formulas in Excel)

- Page ID
- 13698

Since Excel is an object-oriented program (meaning that calculations must be completed in a physical location, before inserting a function, the user must select the cell they would like to add a formula to. For the purposes of this illustration, I will select the cell “C2”. When I select the Insert Function icon, an equals sign “=” is displayed in cell C2, and an Insert Function control panel is displayed.

Using the Insert Function control panel, I can either navigate to the type of function I would like to use, or I can search for a function. For the purposes of this example, I would like to add the numbers “2” and “3” which are located in cell “A2” and “B2”. I search “add” because I want to add the two numbers together. Excel provides the “SUM” function as the option I think it wants. It also displays the formula that would be used along with a description of what it does. I agree with Excel that this is what I want to do, and click “OK”. Now a *Function Arguments dialog box* launches so I can correctly place the cells I would like to use in the equation.

Because I had the cell selected (C2) where I wanted the sum of A2 and B2 to be, Excel automatically placed the cell range to be added together in the *Number1* area. It also shares with me the numbers in those two fields and what the answer would be. If I was adding multiple cells in different areas together, I could use the *Number2* and *Number3* fields as well. When I begin to enter a cell in Number3, another field will be created (*Number4*). When I think my calculation and formula are correct, I press “OK”.

Notice that the number “5” is correctly added in C2, and in the cell, the formula is shown in the formula bar. If I know the formula, I can also enter it manually via the keyboard into the formula bar as well. Remember to place a “=” sign first, and then the formula command, followed by the cells selected in brackets (). While this is a simple example, regardless of the complexity, formulas work the same.