Formula editing in the new Google Sheets

In the new Google Sheets, we’ve made it easier to build complex formulas in your spreadsheets. For example, you’ll now see syntax highlighting, which shows you the argument in your function that you are working on, and you’ll get more details on how to fix errors in your formula by hovering over them.

Create a new formula

  1. Type an equal sign (=) in a cell and type in the function you wish to use. The new Sheets also has function autocomplete, offering suggestions for functions as you type.
  2. A function help box will be visible throughout the editing process to provide you with a definition of the function and its syntax, as well as an example for reference. If you need more information, click the “Learn more” link at the bottom of the help box to open a full article.

Function help box shortcuts

  • F1 will minimize and maximize the help box.
  • Shift + F1 will hide the help box.
  • F1 or Shift + F1 will make the help box appear if it is currently hidden.

Simple ways to select and edit ranges

Range-selection mode

  • When editing a formula, the range-selection signal (a grey bracket) will appear next to your cursor where you’re likely to need a range in the formula. When you see the signal, you can move the keyboard arrows around your sheet to select a range.
  • Toggle this mode on and off using the keyboard shortcuts F2 or Ctrl + E. If range-selection mode is turned off, using the arrow keys will move your cursor inside the input box instead of selecting a range.
  • Clicking within the sheet with your mouse remains an option for selecting a range at any point when editing a formula.

Range replacement improvements

  • When you have the text of a range highlighted in your formula, use F2 or Ctrl + E to enter range-selection mode and easily make adjustments to the range.
  • If you press Shift + F2 or Shift + Ctrl + E while editing the text of a range, you can easily make adjustments to all occurrences of that range in the formula.
You can also select ranges for your formula that are non-adjacent. To select multiple cells, click and hold Ctrl on your keyboard (Cmd on a Mac) as you select the cells you want to include in the formula.