Excel Guides

Entering Formulas

Formulas are the key to getting things done in Excel. By entering formulas, you can have Excel do the work for you. Formulas can perform calculations, return information, manipulate the contents of other cells, test conditions, and more. You can even use formulas to create entire charts and graphs!

To enter a formula, simply type an equal sign (=) followed by the formula you want to use. For example, to add up the values in cells A1 through A5, you would type the following formula:

=SUM(A1:A5)

Once you've typed in a formula, you can press Enter or Return to have Excel calculate the result. You can also use the mouse to click on another cell after typing the equal sign; this will automatically enter the cell reference for you.

If you need to edit a formula, simply click on the cell containing the formula and make your changes. Remember to press Enter or Return when you're done so that Excel will recalculate the result.

Tips for Working with Formulas

  • Use Absolute Cell References: When you're working with formulas that reference other cells, it's important to use absolute cell references. An absolute cell reference is a cell address that doesn't change when you copy or move a formula. Absolute references are indicated by dollar signs ($) in front of both the column letter and row number.
  • Use Relative Cell References: Relative cell references are cell addresses that change when you copy or move a formula. Relative references are helpful when you want to create a series of formulas that all reference a certain cell or range of cells. For example, if you have a formula in cell A1 that uses a relative reference to cell B1, and you copy that formula down to cell A2, the relative reference in A2 will automatically change to B2.

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