Types of arguments and values
This page defines many of the terms used to describe the functions in the Function Browser.
Any value type
If an argument is specified as any, it can be a Boolean value, date/time value, duration value, number value, or string value.
Arrays and array functions
An array is a sequence of values used by a function, or returned by a function. An array function returns an array of values rather than a single value. Array functions are commonly used to provide values to another function.
Boolean expression and value type
A Boolean expression is an expression that evaluates to the Boolean value TRUE or FALSE. A Boolean value is a logical TRUE (1) or FALSE (0) value or a reference to a cell containing or resulting in a logical TRUE or FALSE value. It is generally the result of evaluating a Boolean expression, but a Boolean value can be specified directly as an argument to a function or as the content of a cell. A common use of a Boolean value is to determine which expression is to be returned by the IF function.
Collection value type
An argument that is specified as a collection can be a reference to a single table cell range or an array returned by an array function. An argument specified as a collection has an additional attribute defining the type of values it can contain.
A condition is an expression that can include comparison operators, constants, the ampersand string operator, and references. The contents of the condition must be such that the result of comparing the condition to another value results in the Boolean value TRUE or FALSE.
A constant is an expression specified directly within the formula. It contains no function calls or cell references. For example, in the formula:
The string expressions “cat” and “s” are constants.
Date/time value type
A date/time value is a value or a reference to a cell containing a date/time value in any of the formats supported by Numbers. You can choose to display only a date or time in a cell, but all date/time values contain both a date and a time.
Duration value type
A duration value is a length of time or a reference to a cell containing a length of time. Duration values consist of weeks (w or weeks), days (d or days), hours (h or hours), minutes (m or minutes), seconds (s or seconds), and milliseconds (ms or milliseconds).
List value type
A list is a comma-separated sequence of other values. For example:
In some cases, the list is enclosed in an additional set of parentheses. For example:
Modal argument or value type
A modal argument can have one of several possible specified values. Usually, modal arguments specify something about the type of calculation the function should perform or about the type of data the function should return. If a modal argument has a default value, it’s specified in the argument description.
Number value type
A number value is a number, a numeric expression, or a reference to a cell containing a numeric expression. If the acceptable values of a number are limited (for example, the number must be greater than 0), the limit is included within the argument description.
Range value type
A range value is a reference to a single range of cells (can be a single cell). A range value has an additional attribute included in the argument description that defines the type of values it should contain.
Reference value type
A reference value is a reference to a single cell or a range of cells. If the range is more than one cell, the starting and ending cells are separated by a single colon. For example:
If the reference is to a cell in another table, the reference must contain the name of the table (unless the cell name is unique within all tables). For example:
Note that the table name and cell reference are separated by a double colon (::). The name of the table is automatically included when you select a cell in another table while building a formula.
If the reference is to a cell in a table in another sheet, the sheet name must also be included (unless the cell name is unique within all the sheets). For example:
=SUM(Sheet 2::Table 1::C2:G2)
The sheet name, table name, and cell reference are separated by double colons. The name of the sheet and the name of the table are automatically included when you select a cell in another sheet while building a formula.
String value type
A string value is zero or more characters, or a reference to a cell containing zero or more characters. The characters can consist of any printable characters, including numbers.