Tip of the week # 545
20 June 2018

Autocomplete formulas including its open bracket (Microsoft Excel) *

A function is a special type of formula that "returns" a specific result. Excel provides more than 400 functions and new ones seem to get added with every release. Functions allow you to perform calculations that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. Popular functions you might have heard about (or use) are SUM, AVERAGE, IF, AND, OR, LOOKUP, TODAY, NETWORKDAYS, TRIM ...

But let's stick to today's topic ... how to automatically complete formulas.

To make it easier to enter functions and minimise typing errors Microsoft introduced "Formula AutoComplete" in version 2010. If you are not a "hunt-and-peck" typist and look at your screen rather than your keyboard when you type, you will have noticed that as you type the function, suggestions pop up. But did you know there is also a fast way of opening the bracket?

Here's how:

  1. Type = (equal sign) and the first couple of letters of the function.
  2. Keep typing or use your downward arrow to select the desired formula.
  3. Press TAB.

By the way, if for some reason you cannot bear Formula AutoComplete you can turn it off. Here's how:

  1. Select Options from the File tab.
  2. Type an F (or click on Formulas if you must).
  3. Untick the Formula AutoComplete check box.
  4. Press ENTER (or click OK).

With thanks to Emma for the tip inspiration!

Related tips:

  1. Tip # 437: Find out how many working days are left this year (tip_437.php)
  2. Tip # 356: Countdown to your special day: anniversary, birthday, wedding, retirement or Christmas (tip_356.php)


* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.