Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
• Worksheet functions and their arguments: These include functions such as SUM or AVERAGE and their
arguments. Function arguments appear in parentheses and provide input for the function's calculations.
• Parentheses: These control the order in which expressions within a formula are evaluated.
Entering a formula
When you type an equal sign into an empty cell, Excel assumes that you are entering a formula because a for-
mula always begins with an equal sign. Excel's accommodating nature also permits you to begin your formula
with a minus sign or a plus sign. However, Excel always inserts the leading equal sign after you enter the for-
As a concession to former Lotus 1-2-3 users, Excel also allows you to use an “at” symbol (@) to begin a for-
mula that starts with a function. For example, Excel accepts either of the following formulas:
However, after you enter the second formula, Excel replaces the @ symbol with an equal sign.
If your formula uses a cell reference, you can enter the cell reference in one of two ways: Enter it manually or
enter it by pointing to cells that are used in the formula. I discuss each method in the following sections.
Entering a formula manually
Entering a formula manually involves, well, entering a formula manually. You simply activate a cell and type an
equal sign (=) followed by the formula. As you type, the characters appear in the cell as well as in the Formula
bar. You can, of course, use all the normal editing keys when typing a formula. After you insert the formula,
When you type an array formula, you must press Ctrl+Shift+Enter rather than just Enter.
An array formula is a special type of formula, which I discuss in Part IV.
After you press Enter, the cell displays the result of the formula. The formula itself appears in the Formula bar
when the cell is activated.
Entering a formula by pointing
The other method of entering a formula that contains cells references still involves some manual typing, but you
can simply point to the cell references instead of typing them manually. For example, to enter the formula
=A1+A2 into cell A3, follow these steps:
1. Move the cell pointer to cell A3.
2. Type an equal sign ( = ) to begin the formula.
Notice that Excel displays Enter in the left side of the status bar.
3. Press twice.