Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Understanding Excel Formulas
Although you can use Excel to create simple
databases to store text, numbers, dates, and other
data, the spreadsheets you create are also designed
to analyze data and make calculations. Therefore, to
get the most out of Excel, you need to understand
formulas so that you can use them to analyze and
perform calculations on your worksheet data.
To build accurate and useful formulas, you need to
know the components of a formula, including
operators and operands. You also need to understand
arithmetic and comparison formulas and you need to
understand the importance of precedence when
building a formula.
A formula is a set of symbols and values that perform
some kind of calculation and produce a result. All Excel
formulas have the same general structure: an equal sign
(=) followed by one or more operands and operators.
The equal sign tells Excel to interpret everything that
follows in the cell as a formula. For example, if you
type =5+8 into a cell, Excel interprets the 5+8 text as a
formula, and displays the result (13) in the cell.
Every Excel formula includes one or more operands , which are the data
that Excel uses in the calculation. The simplest type of operand is a
constant value, which is usually a number. However, most Excel
formulas include references to worksheet data, which can be a cell
address (such as A1), a range address (such as B1:B5), or a range
name. Finally, you can also use any of the built-in Excel functions as
In an Excel formula that contains two or more operands, each operand
is separated by an operator , which is a symbol that combines the
operands in some way, usually mathematically. Example operators
include the plus sign (+) and the multiplication sign (*). For example,
the formula =B1+B2 adds the values in cells B1 and B2.