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
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.
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