Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**Chapter 11: Working with Formulas and Functions**

Understanding

Formulas

You can use formulas to perform all kinds of calculations on your Excel data. You can build

formulas using mathematical operators, values, and cell references. For example, you can add

the contents of a column of monthly sales totals to determine the cumulative sales total. If

you are new to writing formulas, this section explains the basics of building your own

formulas in Excel.

Formula Structure

Ordinarily, when you write a

mathematical formula, you write

the values and the operators,

followed by an equal sign, such as

2+2=. In Excel, formula structure

works a bit differently. All Excel

formulas begin with an equal sign

(=), such as =2+2. The equal sign

tells Excel to recognize any

subsequent data as a formula

rather than as a regular cell entry.

Referencing Cells

Although you can enter specific

values in your Excel formulas, you

can also reference data in cells —

for example, adding the contents of

two cells together. Every cell in a

worksheet has a unique address,

called a
cell reference
, composed

of the cell’s column letter and row

number. Cell D5, for example,

identifies the fifth cell down in

column D. To make your

worksheets easier to use, you can

also assign your own names to

cells — for example, naming a cell

that contains a figure totaling

weekly sales “Sales.”

Cell Ranges

A group of related cells in a

worksheet is called a
range
. Excel

identifies a range by the cells in the

upper left and lower right corners

of the range, separated by a colon.

For example, range A1:B3 includes

cells A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, and B3.

You can also assign names to

ranges to make it easier to identify

their contents. Range names must

start with a letter, underscore, or

backslash, and can include

uppercase and lowercase letters.

Spaces are not allowed.

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