Microsoft Excel INFO Function Tutorial

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Microsoft Excel INFO Function Tutorial

Excel Function Tutorial

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The INFO Function returns information about the current operating system.

What is the Microsoft Excel INFO Function?

The INFO function is a computer program that you run from a worksheet cell formula. It returns information about the current operating system. You run the INFO function by typing its name in a formula then followed by the information it is suppose to use. The INFO worksheet function is generally used to display the current directory where the workbook file resides or the if the calculation mode of Excel is set to automatic or manual.

How Do You Type the INFO Worksheet Function in a Formula?

Whenever you type a formula in a worksheet cell, this is called syntax or grammar. The general INFO function syntax has a format like this when you type it in a worksheet cell:


Where text is called the function argument list. Remember, you are running a computer program at this point so the program needs information to operate and that is why there is an argument list. When you see an argument list and you see square brackets [ ] around the argument name, this means the argument is optional and you do not have to include it when typing unless you need it. So for the syntax above, you need to include 1 argument for the INFO function when typing it in a worksheet cell formula in order for it to calculate correctly. What argument value can be used is discussed below. Remember functions expect certain things in their argument lists, if you do not put the correct information in the list they will generate an error when run.

INFO Worksheet Function Argument Definitions

type_text: The text that specifies what type of information you want returned from the function. The arguments that can be used for type_text are presented in the table below.

text_type Description
"directory" Path of the current directory or folder
"numfile" Number of active worksheets in the open workbooks
"origin" Returns the absolute cell reference of the top and leftmost cell visible in the window, based on the current scrolling position, as text prepended with "$A:". This value is intended for for Lotus 1-2-3 release 3.x compatibility. The actual value returned depends on the current reference style setting. Using D9 as an example, the return value would be: A1 reference style "$A:$D$9". R1C1 reference style "$A:R9C4"
"osversion" Current operating system version, as text
"recalc" Current recalculation mode; returns "Automatic" or "Manual"
"release" Version of Microsoft Excel, as text
"system" Name of the operating environment: Macintosh = "mac" Windows = "pcdos"

How Do You Run the INFO Function?

Since the INFO function is a computer program, it runs when you press Enter to enter the formula that contains it. If any of the arguments are wrong, the function will return an error.

Additional INFO Function Examples

The worksheet seen below contains some typical worksheet formulas that run the INFO worksheet function. Pay close attention to the argument list and the syntax used to write the formula.

1 =INFO("numfile")  Returns 3 if 3 worksheets present in the workbook. Does not ignore hidden worksheets
2 =INFO("directory")  Returns "C:\Storage\" for the current directory if the workbook file was saved to that directory
3  =INFO("recalc")  Displays whether the calculation mode is set to automatic or manual
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