Microsoft Office Tutorials and References

In Depth Information

**It Takes All Types**

How Excel evaluates its values

Values
are the building blocks of most of the formulas that you create in

Excel. As such, values come in two flavors: numbers that represent quantities

14
stores or
$140,000
dollars) and numbers that represent dates
(July 30,
(

1995)
or times (
p.m.).
2

You can tell whether Excel has accepted your entry as a value because values

automatically align at the right edge of their cells. If the value that you enter

is wider than the column containing the cell can display, Excel automatically

converts the value to (of all things)
scientific notation.
To restore a value

that’s been converted into that weird scientific notation stuff to a regular

number, simply widen the column for that cell. (Read how in Chapter 3.)

Verifying Excel’s got your number

When building a new worksheet, you’ll probably spend a lot of your time

entering numbers, representing all types of quantities from money that you

made (or lost) to the percentage of the office budget that went to coffee and

donuts. (You mean you don’t get donuts?)

To enter a numeric value that represents a positive quantity, like the amount

of money you made last year, just select a cell, type the numbers — for

example,
459600
— and complete the entry in the cell by clicking the Enter button,

pressing the Enter key, and so on. To enter a numeric value that represents

a negative quantity, such as the amount of money the office spent on coffee

and donuts last year, begin the entry with the minus sign or hyphen (–)

before typing the numbers and then complete the entry. For example,
–175

(that’s not too much to spend on coffee and donuts when you just made

$459,600).

To Excel, text is nothing but a big zero

Use the AutoCalculate indicator to prove to

yourself that Excel gives all text entries the value

of 0 (zero). As an example, enter the number
10

in one cell and then some stupid piece of text,

such as
Excel is like a box of chocolates
, in

the cell directly below. Then drag up so that

both cells (the one with 10 and the one with

the text) are highlighted. Take a gander at the

AutoCalculate indicator on the Status bar, and

you see that it reads AVERAGE: 10, COUNT: 2,

and SUM: 10, proving that the text adds nothing

to the total value of these two cells.