Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Using Formulas and Functions**

As with so many things in Office, you can also use the right mouse button to good

advantage with the ill handle. When you release the mouse button after dragging, Excel displays

a shortcut menu showing many of the options from the Series dialog box.

INSIDE OUT
Give Excel some extra clues about your series

For most series, Excel uses the default step value of 1 when you extend the series using

the ill handle or the Series dialog box. If you want to use a different series, enter values

in two or more cells—enough to make it clear what the series is—and then select both

cells and drag the ill handle. If you start with Jan 2011 and Apr 2011, for example,

Excel assumes (probably correctly) that you want to continue with July 2011, Oct 2011,

and Jan 2012. And you don’t have to mess with any dialog boxes to make it so.

For a more detailed of how to use and fine-tune Clipboard options, see “Using the

Clipboard with Office Programs” on page 129.

Using Formulas and Functions

If the following section brings up unpleasant memories of high-school algebra assignments

and nightmares about trigonometry, we apologize in advance. But we can’t talk about Excel

without discussing—at great length—its amazing ability to perform calculations. This

section is all about formulas, which are equations that Excel uses to perform mathematical and

statistical calculations, manipulate text, test logical conditions, look up information in

databases, and much more. We promise: there won’t be a test.

To begin entering a formula, click in any cell and type an equal sign. Assuming that you

follow the correct syntax, Excel evaluates the formula when you press Enter and displays the

formula’s result in the cell. The formula itself remains visible in the formula bar when you

select the cell.

A formula can contain any combination of the following four elements:

●
Constants
are numbers or text values that you enter directly and that remain the

same regardless of any ensuing calculations.

●
References
are cell or range addresses that incorporate the contents of the referenced

location into the current formula.