CONFIDENCE: Google Sheets Formulae Explained

Google Sheets, a powerful tool in the Google Workspace suite, offers a wide range of functionalities. One of its most potent features is its ability to handle complex calculations and data manipulation through the use of formulae. This guide will delve into the intricacies of Google Sheets formulae, providing a comprehensive understanding of how they work and how you can utilize them effectively.

Understanding Google Sheets Formulae

Google Sheets formulae are instructions that perform calculations on your data. They can range from simple arithmetic operations, such as addition and subtraction, to more complex functions like statistical analysis and text manipulation. Understanding how to use these formulae can greatly enhance your productivity and data analysis capabilities.

Every formula in Google Sheets starts with an equals sign (=). This tells Google Sheets that what follows is a formula. After the equals sign, you write the function name, followed by the arguments for the function in parentheses. The arguments are the values that the function will use in its calculation.

Basic Arithmetic Operations

Google Sheets supports all the basic arithmetic operations. You can add (+), subtract (-), multiply (*), and divide (/) numbers. For example, the formula "=5+3" will return 8. You can also use parentheses to determine the order of operations, just like in regular math. The formula "=(5+3)*2" will return 16, not 11.

It's also possible to perform these operations on cell references. If you have a number in cell A1 and another number in cell B1, you can add them together with the formula "=A1+B1". This is particularly useful when working with large datasets, as you don't have to manually input each number into your formula.

Using Functions

Functions are predefined instructions that perform specific calculations. Google Sheets has hundreds of functions that you can use, each with its own unique purpose. Some of the most commonly used functions include SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, and VLOOKUP.

To use a function, you write the function name followed by the arguments in parentheses. The arguments are the values that the function will use in its calculation. For example, the formula "=SUM(A1:A10)" will add up all the numbers in cells A1 through A10.

Advanced Google Sheets Formulae

While basic arithmetic operations and functions can handle most calculations, there are times when you need to perform more complex data manipulation. This is where advanced Google Sheets formulae come into play.

These advanced formulae allow you to perform tasks such as conditional calculations, text manipulation, and even querying your data. They can be a bit more challenging to learn, but they offer a level of flexibility and power that can't be matched by basic operations and functions.

Conditional Calculations

Conditional calculations are calculations that only occur if certain conditions are met. The most common way to perform conditional calculations in Google Sheets is by using the IF function. The IF function takes three arguments: a logical test, the value to return if the test is true, and the value to return if the test is false.

For example, the formula "=IF(A1>10, "Yes", "No")" will return "Yes" if the number in cell A1 is greater than 10, and "No" if it's not. You can also nest IF functions inside each other to handle multiple conditions. The formula "=IF(A1>10, "Yes", IF(A1<5, "No", "Maybe"))" will return "Yes" if the number in cell A1 is greater than 10, "No" if it's less than 5, and "Maybe" if it's between 5 and 10.

Text Manipulation

Google Sheets also has a variety of functions for manipulating text. These functions can be used to change the case of text, combine text from multiple cells, extract specific parts of text, and more.

The UPPER, LOWER, and PROPER functions can be used to change the case of text. The formula "=UPPER(A1)" will convert the text in cell A1 to uppercase, while "=LOWER(A1)" will convert it to lowercase. The PROPER function capitalizes the first letter of each word, so "=PROPER(A1)" will convert "hello world" to "Hello World".

The CONCATENATE function, or the "&" operator, can be used to combine text from multiple cells. The formula "=A1 & " " & B1" will combine the text in cells A1 and B1 with a space in between. For example, if A1 contains "Hello" and B1 contains "world", the formula will return "Hello world".


Google Sheets formulae are a powerful tool for data analysis and manipulation. By understanding how to use basic operations, functions, and even advanced formulae, you can greatly enhance your productivity and data analysis capabilities.

While this guide provides a comprehensive overview of Google Sheets formulae, there's still much more to learn. Google Sheets has hundreds of functions, each with its own unique capabilities. Don't be afraid to explore these functions and experiment with different formulae. With practice, you'll be able to create complex calculations and data manipulations with ease.

Take Your Data Analysis Further with Causal

If you're looking to elevate your data analysis and visualization beyond what traditional spreadsheets offer, Causal is your go-to platform. Designed specifically for number crunching and data handling, Causal simplifies the process of modelling, forecasting, and scenario planning. With intuitive tools for creating interactive dashboards and visualizing data through charts and tables, you'll find it quicker and easier to communicate your insights. Ready to transform your data experience? Sign up today and start exploring the possibilities with Causal.

Move beyond 

Google Sheets

Get started with Causal today.
Build models effortlessly, connect them directly to your data, and share them with interactive dashboards and beautiful visuals.