Use formulas in Microsoft Excel, to calculate results, or simply link to other cells on the spreadsheet. See simple examples below, and click links for specific functions.
In Excel, you can use formulas to calculate results, such as the sum of a range of cells. Formulas can be short and simple, such as adding two numbers, or long and complex. Formulas can include one or more of Excel's built-in functions, and advanced users can even create their own functions.
In this tutorial you'll see how to get started, by creating very simple formulas. Once you know the calculationj basics, you can explore the many other function articles on this website, by clicking the links in the More Tutorials section.
First, we'll create a very simple formula, that adds two numbers.
The formula will go in cell B2 -- that's the cell in row 2, in column B
The cell below the formula should be automatically selected, after you press the Enter key. You'll see the formula result -- 3 -- in cell B2.
After you press Enter, you can't see the formula in cell B2. To see the formula again, after you've entered it, follow these steps
NOTE: If the Formula Bar is not visible, click the View tab on the Ribbon at the top of Excel. Then, add a check mark to Formula Bar.
After you create a formula, you might need to revise it. For example, you could change the numbers in the formula, or change the operator - maybe you should multiply (*) the numbers, instead of summing them.
In this example, we'll change it to give the total of 1 and 4.
Next, we'll create a very simple formula, that uses the SUM function, to add the numbers in a range of cells -- from A2 to A6
The formula will go in cell C2
To use the SUM function to get the total for a range of cells, follow these steps:
The formula result will be displayed in the cell.
To see the formula again, select the cell, and look in the formula bar.
Here are 3 quick tips, for entering a formula in Excel.
To start the formula, type an equal sign, and start typing the name of a function. A popup list will appear, showing any functions that match what you've typed.
When the function that you want is highlighted, press the Tab key, to enter it in the cell, along with its opening bracket.
Before you start typing any of the arguments, press Ctrl+Shift+A to put all the arguments into the cell. The first one is highlighted, so just click on the range that you want to refer to. Then, double-click on the next argument name, and select its range on the worksheet.
If that function popup gets in your way, follow these steps to move it:
That tip popup is helpful most of the time, but can be a nuisance if you're trying to click on a column heading.
In Lotus 1-2-3, formulas could be entered without starting with an equal sign. For example, you could select a cell and type "1+1" and then press Enter. The cell would show 2 as the result
To replicate this feature in an Excel worksheet, you can turn on a Lotus Compatibility setting:
Click here to download the sample file for this tutorial. The file is in xlsx format, and does not contain macros.
Last updated: May 12, 2022 7:54 PM