Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Chapter 12: Building formulas
CHAPTER 12
Building formulas
Formula fundamentals............................467
Using functions: A preview ........................480
Working with formulas ...........................484
Worksheet calculation ............................505
Using arrays.....................................512
Creating conditional tests.........................521
FORMULAS are the heart and soul of a spreadsheet, and Microsoft Excel offers a rich
environment in which to build complex formulas. Armed with a few mathematical
operators and rules for cell entry, you can turn a worksheet into a powerful calculator.
In this chapter, we cover the basics and then look more closely at using functions, defining
names, building structured references, working with arrays, creating linking formulas, and
constructing conditional tests.
Formula fundamentals
A lot of this section will seem elementary to experienced Excel users, but it is important
information for anyone who is just arriving at the party. And even experienced users might
find something useful here that they didn’t know about.
All formulas in Excel begin with an equal sign.
This is the most fundamental fact of all. The equal sign tells Excel that the succeeding
characters constitute a formula. If you omit the equal sign, Excel might interpret the entry as
text. To show how formulas work, we’ll walk you through some rudimentary ones. Begin by
selecting blank cell A10. Then type =10+5 , and press the Enter key. The value 15 appears
in cell A10. Now select cell A10, and the formula bar displays the formula you just typed.
What appears in the cell is the displayed value; what appears in the formula bar is the
underlying value, which in this case is a formula.
Understanding the precedence of operators
Operators are symbols that represent specific mathematical operations, including the plus
sign (+), minus sign (–), division sign (/), and multiplication sign (*). When performing these
operations in a formula, Excel follows certain rules of precedence:
Excel processes expressions within parentheses first.
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