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.
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