Insert function

To succeed in financial modelling you need to make sure you’ve got a few critical features of Excel firmly in your modelling survival toolkit.

“Shift” “F3” for Excel’s insert function dialog box

Please open Excel and press the “Shift” “F3” Excel keyboard shortcut. That shortcut brings up Excel’s insert function dialog box.

Excel's insert formula function

If you’ve seen a function being used in someone else’s model and are not sure exactly how to use it, you can start to type the function’s name at the top of that dialog box. Click on “Go”. Once you’ve found the function you’re interested in click on it and hit “OK” at the bottom. Straight away what you’ve got there is a few boxes showing the inputs to the function. That all helps you start building your shiny brand new formula step by step in a structured fashion.

The insert function dialog box

We think that “Shift” “F3” and that insert function dialog box is really handy when you’re tackling functions you’re not completely familiar with. Make sure you’ve got that one firmly in your Excel modelling survival toolkit. As you get more familiar with a function, you can start entering it directly into a cell but you’ll notice you’re still getting a bit of guidance about the formula’s structure.

Enter a formula in Excel

When you’re interrogating someone else’s model, at any time you can hit “Shift” “F3” on any formula you see to get a bit more detail about what’s going on at each stage.

What else is essential?

You need to make sure you’ve got a few other things apart from “Shift” “F3” in your modelling survival toolkit. The good news is, amongst all the rich functionality that Excel has to offer, there are only a few critical functions that you’ll use to do most of your modelling. You absolutely need to make sure you’ve mastered those ones.

Give yourself an Excel tune up for free in 10 minutes a day over the next month

For free, we’re happy to to send you a regular daily email over the next month. In the first lesson we concentrate on If functions, thinking about how we could create a balanced scorecard that uses an embedded/ nested If function to code results “red”, “green” or “amber” for a warning.

Some of what we send you you may well be familiar with. But as the lessons progress we get into advanced modelling territory and we think there’s a good chance you’ll find something a bit new and novel somewhere (did you know that Sumproduct has a superpower – that it straps on its tights at night and is practically powerful enough to go out fighting crime? – but more of that later).

By flicking through each lesson we think you can give yourself a tiny little Excel work out probably in as little as 10 minutes a day – making sure you’re toned up and fighting fit for your modelling. As the month progresses you’ll start to see more advanced functions that are likely to prove helpful but that you’ll use less frequently. To start with though, we’ll make sure you’re totally on top of the most essential Excel features.

Get the online training material

Here you can sign up to get our free online financial modelling course material on Excel functions.