Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Gaining the Upper Hand on Formulas**

start with an equal sign (=) to tell Excel that it is a formula and not data.

Sounds simple, and it is.

All formulas start with an equal (=) sign. An alternative is to start a formula

with a plus sign (+). This keeps Excel compatible with Lotus 1-2-3.

Look at some very basic formulas. Table 1-1 shows a few formulas and tells

you what they do.

I use the word
return
to refer to what displays after a formula or function does

its thing. So to say
the formula returns a 7
is the same as saying
the formula

calculated the answer to be 7.

Table 1-1

Basic Formulas

Formula

What It Does

=2 + 2

Returns the number 4.

=A1 + A2

Returns the sum of the values in cells A1 and A2, whatever

those values may be. If either A1 or A2 has text in it, then an

error is returned.

=D5

The cell that contains this formula ends up displaying the

value that is in cell D5. If you try to enter this formula into

cell D5 itself, you create a circular reference. That is a

no-no. See Chapter 4.

=SUM(A2:A5)

Returns the sum of the values in cells A2, A3, A4, and A5.

Recall from above the syntax for a range. This formula uses

the SUM function to sum up all the values in the range.

Entering your first formula

Ready to enter your first formula? Make sure Excel is running and a

worksheet is in front of you, and then:

1. Click an empty cell.

2. Type this in:
= 10 + 10
.

3. Press Enter.

That was easy, wasn’t it? You should see the
result
of the formula — the

number 20.