Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Data entry in Excel is quite straightforward. Excel interprets each cell entry as one of the following:
h A numeric value (including date and time values)
h A Boolean value ( True or False )
h A formula
Formulas always begin with an equal sign (=). Excel accommodates habitual 1-2-3 users,
however, and accepts an each-at symbol (@), a plus sign (+), or a minus sign (–) as the first character
in a formula. Excel automatically adjusts the entry after you press Enter.
Formulas, Functions, and Names
Formulas are what make a spreadsheet a spreadsheet. Excel has some advanced formula-related
features that are worth knowing. They enable you to write array formulas, use an intersection
operator, include links, and create megaformulas (my term for a lengthy and incomprehensible —
but very efficient — formula).
Chapter 3 covers formulas and presents lots of tricks and tips.
Excel also has some useful auditing capabilities that help you identify errors or track the logic in
an unfamiliar spreadsheet. To access these features, use the commands in the
Formulas➜Formula Auditing group.
You may find the Formulas➜Formula Auditing➜Error Checking command useful. This command
scans your worksheet and identifies possibly erroneous formulas. In Figure 2-14, Excel identifies a
possibly inconsistent formula and provides some options.
Worksheet functions enable you to perform calculations or operations that would otherwise be
impossible. Excel provides a huge number of built-in functions.
The easiest way to locate the function that you need is to use the Insert Function dialog box, as
shown in Figure 2-15. Access this dialog box by clicking the Insert Function button on the formula
bar (or by pressing Shift+F3). After you select a function, Excel displays its Function Arguments
dialog box, which assists with specifying the function’s arguments.
Beginning with Excel 2007, the Analysis ToolPak functions became part of Excel. In
other words, you can use these function even if the Analysis ToolPak add-in isn’t