Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Gaining the Upper Hand on Formulas
Figure 1-18:
Populating
cells with a
formula by
using the fill
handle.
Assembling formulas the right way
There’s a saying in the computer business: garbage in, garbage out. And that
applies to how formulas are put together. If a formula is constructed the
wrong way, it either returns an incorrect result or an error.
Two types of errors can occur in formulas. In one type, Excel can calculate
the formula, but the result is wrong. In the other type, Excel is not able to
calculate the formula. Check out both of these.
A formula can work and still produce an incorrect result. Excel does not report
an error because there is no error for it to find. Often this is the result of not
using parentheses properly in the formula. Take a look at some examples:
Formula
Result
=7 + 5 * 20 + 25 / 5
112
=(7 + 5) * 20 + 25 / 5
245
=7 + 5 *( 20 + 25) / 5
52
=(7 + 5 * 20 + 25) / 5
26.4
All of these are valid formulas, but the placement of parentheses makes a
difference in the outcome. You must take into account the order of
mathematical operators when writing formulas. The order is:
1. Parentheses
2. Exponents
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