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.
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