Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Basics of Entering a Formula
The order of precedence
When a formula includes more than one
operator, the order in which the operators appear in
the formula matters a lot. Consider this formula:
=2+3*4
Does this formula result in 14 (2+[3*4]) or 20
([2+3]*4)? The answer is 14 because Excel
performs multiplication before addition in
formulas. In other words, multiplication takes
precedence over addition.
The order in which calculations are made in
a formula that includes different operators is
called the order of precedence. Be sure to
remember the order of precedence when you
construct complex formulas with more than
one operator:
1. Percent (%)
2. Exponentiation (^)
3. Multiplication (*) and division (/); leftmost
operations are calculated first
4. Addition (+) and subtraction (-); leftmost
operations are calculated first
5. Concatenation (&)
6. Comparison (<, <=, >,>=, and <>)
To get around the order of precedence
problem, enclose parts of formulas in parentheses.
Operations in parentheses are calculated
before all other parts of a formula. For example,
the formula =2+3*4 equals 20 when it is
written this way: =(2+3)*4 .
Another way to compute a formula is to make use of a function. As “Working
with Functions” explains later in this chapter, a function is a built-in formula
that comes with Excel. SUM, for example, adds the numbers in cells. AVG
finds the average of different numbers.
The Basics of Entering a Formula
No matter what kind of formula you enter, no matter how complex the
formula is, follow these basic steps to enter it:
1. Click the cell where you want to enter the formula.
2. Click in the Formula bar if you want to enter the data there rather
than the cell.
3. Enter the equal sign (=).
You must be sure to enter the equal sign before you enter a formula.
Without it, Excel thinks you’re entering text or a number, not a formula.
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