What are Arguments in Excel – Excel Function Arguments 

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Do you know what are arguments in Excel?

Excel has much more than you think as it always gives solutions to execute different operations. By using the parenthesis, you simply explain some desired operations to be done before others. Whatever you have added in the parenthesis is called function arguments.

Today, you will get to know what function arguments in Excel are and how useful they are.

So, let’s get started:

How to Show Function Arguments in Excel?

By following two ways, you can show function arguments:

Show Function Arguments while Typing a Function

Did you ever notice that Excel by default shows the arguments when you put an equal sign while entering the function name?

Here is an example:

Typing =IF( 

The arguments of the IF function will appear automatically.

Show Function Arguments with Keyboard Shortcut CTRL + A 

Apart from the above function argument appearance, this method has something extra.

The above method gives you the arguments only, whereas in this approach you can have both see and place input value once you enter a valid function name followed by an equal sign in the formula bar.

Using this shortcut, the function argument dialog box will pop up:


In the window that appears, you can find the arguments as well as put the numbers in the boxes.

How Many Arguments a Function can have? 

There is no strict number of arguments because multiple functions in Excel come up with a different number of arguments. Even you will find some of the functions with zero arguments.

Functions with a Single Argument 

Most of the time, arguments referred to individual cells and consist of cell ranges. Let’s have a look at an example with a single argument function.

In this example, the UPPER function will be used that refers to text-string as an argument.

This function covers a single argument as input that directly changes the lowercase letter into the uppercase letter.

In cell B4, the formula would be:


In cell B2, you can see the argument is a text string.

That’s it!

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Functions with Multiple Arguments 

In case, when you need to use more than one argument in a function, a comma is used in between them.


When you need to find out the average function and sum function of two columns. You may use the single argument with a range or you can have two arguments to define the two ranges like:




In the above formulas, C5:C14, D5:D14 are the arguments used for AVERAGE and SUM functions. You can see the use of commas for multiple arguments. Here is another example in which three arguments are used and the formula is given below:

=TIME(8, 15, 40)

In the above formula, the TIME function is used in which hours, minutes, and seconds are arguments.

Functions with No Arguments 

As you have witnessed above, most of the functions use arguments, however, Excel has some preset functions without arguments. These functions include NOW(), TODAY(), and RAND().

Types of Arguments in Excel Functions 

Arguments of Required Type 

Whenever a function has arguments, there is always a required argument. In order to have a valid result, a function should have all of its required arguments. For further clarification, let’s see an example in which the NETWORKDAYS function is used.

Here is the syntax for this function:

=NETWORKDAYS(start_date, end_date, [holidays]) 

In this formula, the required arguments are present without a square bracket in the parenthesis. On the other hand, this function has two types of arguments:

  • Required type
  • Optional type

The required arguments give 86 days as a result.

Arguments of Optional Type 

Some functions use optional arguments only such as the INDEX function. In this function, Excel by default displays the required as well as optional arguments.

Arguments in Excel VBA Function 

With VBA Excel, three types of procedures are used:

Sub, Function, and Property

Below you can see the formula for the Function:

 [Public/Private/Friend] [Static] Function Function_Name [(arglist)] [As type]
[Exit Function]
End Function

You can see that it has [(arglist)] that refers to arguments of Function statement in VBA. The square brackets around arglist show that this part of the formula is optional.

Below is the arglist syntax:

 [Optional] [ByVal/ByRef] [ParamArray] varname [( )] [As type] [=defaultvalue]


In this post, you have learned what are arguments in Excel and how functions use arguments. The above-mentioned information is highly significant for those who seek help regarding function arguments.

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