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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