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.