Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Building Basic Formulas
Creating a Basic
Formula
• To view any formula (for example, to gain some insight into how Excel
produced a displayed result), you must move to the cell containing the formula, and
then look in the formula bar (see Figure 17-1). The formula bar also doubles as
a handy tool for editing your formulas.
• Formulas can evaluate a combination of numbers you input (useful when you
want to use Excel as a handy calculator) or, more powerfully, the contents of
other cells. Formulas can even process an entire group of cells when using
certain functions.
One of the simplest formulas you can create is this one:
=1+1
The equal sign’s how you tell Excel that you’re entering a formula (as opposed to a
string of text or numbers). The formula that follows is what you want Excel to
calculate. Note that the formula doesn’t include the result . When creating a formula in Excel,
you write the question, and then Excel coughs up the answer, as shown in Figure 17-1.
Figure 17-1:
Top: This simple formula begins
its life when you enter it into
a cell. The checkmark and X
buttons to the left of the formula
bar let you quickly complete
or cancel, respectively, your
formula.
Bottom: Or you can press Enter,
and Excel displays the result in
the cell. The formula bar always
displays the complete formula
(=1+1). In formula lingo, this
particular example consists of
two literal values (1 and 1) and
one arithmetic operator (+).
All formulas use some combination of the following ingredients:
The equal sign (=). Every formula must begin with the equal sign. It signals to
Excel that the cell contains a formula, not just ordinary text.
The simple operators . These ingredients include everything you fondly
remember from high-school math class, including addition (+), subtraction (−),
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