COTH: Google Sheets Formulae Explained

Understanding Google Sheets formulae is a critical skill for anyone who wants to leverage the full power of this versatile spreadsheet tool. Whether you're a student, a business professional, or just someone who loves organizing data, mastering Google Sheets formulae can significantly enhance your productivity and efficiency.

Introduction to Google Sheets Formulae

Google Sheets formulae are a set of predefined functions that perform calculations using specific values in a particular order. They can be as simple as adding two numbers together, or as complex as calculating statistical data from a large dataset. The beauty of Google Sheets formulae lies in their flexibility and power, enabling users to automate tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming and prone to errors.

Each formula in Google Sheets starts with an equals sign (=), followed by the name of the function and its arguments enclosed in parentheses. Arguments can be numbers, text, logical values such as TRUE or FALSE, arrays, error values, or cell references. The syntax of a formula is crucial, as a misplaced comma or an incorrect argument can lead to errors.

Understanding Basic Google Sheets Formulae

Arithmetic Formulae

Arithmetic formulae are the most basic type of formulae in Google Sheets. They include addition (+), subtraction (-), multiplication (*), and division (/). For instance, to add two numbers, you would use the formula "=A1+B1", assuming that the numbers are in cells A1 and B1.

Arithmetic formulae can also be combined to perform more complex calculations. For example, the formula "=A1+B1*C1" first multiplies B1 and C1, and then adds the result to A1. This is because Google Sheets follows the standard order of operations in mathematics, which is parentheses, exponents, multiplication and division (from left to right), addition and subtraction (from left to right).

Statistical Formulae

Statistical formulae in Google Sheets allow you to perform statistical calculations on a range of data. Some of the most commonly used statistical formulae include AVERAGE, COUNT, MAX, MIN, and SUM.

For example, the formula "=AVERAGE(A1:A10)" calculates the average of the numbers in cells A1 through A10. Similarly, the formula "=COUNT(A1:A10)" counts the number of cells in the range A1 through A10 that contain numbers.

Advanced Google Sheets Formulae

Lookup Formulae

Lookup formulae in Google Sheets enable you to search for specific data in your spreadsheet. The most commonly used lookup formula is VLOOKUP, which searches for a value in the leftmost column of a range and returns a value in the same row from a column you specify.

For example, the formula "=VLOOKUP("Apple", A1:B10, 2, FALSE)" searches for the word "Apple" in the range A1 through A10, and returns the value in the same row from the second column. The FALSE argument indicates that we want an exact match.

Text Formulae

Text formulae in Google Sheets allow you to manipulate text strings in various ways. Some of the most commonly used text formulae include CONCATENATE, LEFT, RIGHT, MID, and LEN.

For example, the formula "=CONCATENATE(A1, " ", B1)" combines the text in cells A1 and B1 with a space in between. Similarly, the formula "=LEN(A1)" returns the length of the text in cell A1.

Using Google Sheets Formulae Effectively

While knowing the different types of Google Sheets formulae is important, it's equally crucial to know how to use them effectively. This involves understanding the syntax of each formula, using cell references instead of hard-coded values, and handling errors appropriately.

Moreover, it's often a good idea to break down complex calculations into smaller, more manageable parts. This not only makes your formulae easier to understand and debug, but also allows you to reuse parts of your calculations in other formulae.


Google Sheets formulae are a powerful tool for manipulating and analyzing data. By understanding the different types of formulae and how to use them effectively, you can unlock the full potential of Google Sheets and take your data analysis skills to the next level.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So don't be afraid to experiment with different formulae and explore new ways to use them in your spreadsheets. Happy calculating!

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