BASE: Google Sheets Formulae Explained

Google Sheets, a cloud-based spreadsheet program from Google, is a powerful tool that can handle a wide range of tasks. One of the key features that makes Google Sheets so versatile is its extensive library of formulae. These formulae allow you to perform calculations, manipulate data, and automate tasks, among other things. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of Google Sheets formulae, explaining their syntax, how they work, and how you can use them to your advantage.

Understanding Google Sheets Formulae

Google Sheets formulae are commands or instructions that you give to the program to perform specific tasks. They are written in a specific syntax that the program can understand and execute. A formula can be as simple as adding two numbers together or as complex as analyzing and manipulating large sets of data.

Each formula in Google Sheets starts with an equals sign (=), followed by the name of the function and a set of parentheses. Inside the parentheses, you provide the arguments or parameters that the function needs to perform its task. For example, the formula =SUM(A1:A10) adds up all the numbers in cells A1 through A10.

Basic Formulae

Google Sheets includes a number of basic formulae that you can use to perform simple calculations. These include arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as more complex operations like exponentiation and square roots.

For example, the formula =A1+B1 adds the values in cells A1 and B1, while the formula =A1-B1 subtracts the value in cell B1 from the value in cell A1. Similarly, the formula =A1*B1 multiplies the values in cells A1 and B1, and the formula =A1/B1 divides the value in cell A1 by the value in cell B1.

Advanced Formulae

In addition to basic arithmetic operations, Google Sheets also includes a number of advanced formulae that you can use to perform more complex tasks. These include statistical functions, financial functions, date and time functions, and text functions, among others.

For example, the formula =AVERAGE(A1:A10) calculates the average of the numbers in cells A1 through A10, while the formula =STDEV(A1:A10) calculates the standard deviation of the numbers in cells A1 through A10. Similarly, the formula =NOW() returns the current date and time, and the formula =UPPER(A1) converts the text in cell A1 to uppercase.

Using Google Sheets Formulae

Using Google Sheets formulae is a straightforward process. You simply type the formula into a cell, and Google Sheets will automatically calculate the result and display it in the cell. You can also copy and paste formulae from one cell to another, or drag and drop a formula to fill a range of cells.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when using Google Sheets formulae. First, you need to make sure that your formula is written in the correct syntax. If there's an error in your formula, Google Sheets will display an error message and highlight the problematic part of the formula. Second, you need to be aware of the order of operations, which determines the sequence in which operations are performed in a formula. Finally, you need to understand how cell references work in Google Sheets, as they are a crucial part of many formulae.

Correct Syntax

The syntax of a Google Sheets formula is the set of rules that govern how the formula is written. It includes the order in which elements are arranged, the symbols used to separate elements, and the way in which elements are grouped together.

If your formula doesn't follow the correct syntax, Google Sheets won't be able to understand it and will display an error message. To avoid syntax errors, make sure to start your formula with an equals sign (=), use the correct function name, provide the necessary arguments inside parentheses, and separate multiple arguments with commas.

Order of Operations

The order of operations in Google Sheets is the same as in standard mathematics. It determines the sequence in which operations are performed in a formula. The order of operations is often remembered by the acronym PEMDAS, which stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division (from left to right), Addition and Subtraction (from left to right).

For example, in the formula =A1+B1*C1, Google Sheets will first multiply B1 and C1, and then add the result to A1. If you want to add A1 and B1 first, you need to put them in parentheses, like this: =(A1+B1)*C1.

Cell References

Cell references are a key part of many Google Sheets formulae. They allow you to refer to the contents of a cell or a range of cells in your formula. A cell reference consists of the column letter and the row number of the cell, like A1, B2, or C3.

You can use cell references in your formulae in two ways: as absolute references or as relative references. An absolute reference always refers to the same cell, no matter where you copy or move the formula. A relative reference changes when you copy or move the formula, based on its relative position to the cell containing the formula.


Google Sheets formulae are a powerful tool that can help you perform a wide range of tasks, from simple calculations to complex data analysis. By understanding how these formulae work and how to use them effectively, you can unlock the full potential of Google Sheets and make your work more efficient and productive.

Remember, the key to mastering Google Sheets formulae is practice. So don't be afraid to experiment with different formulae and functions, and see what they can do. With a bit of practice, you'll soon be able to use Google Sheets formulae with confidence and ease.

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