Enter Formulas in a Cell: MS Excel

Dennis Faas's picture

You can type formulas in a cell to do all sorts of calculations.

Formulas always begin with an equal sign (=). Then, to calculate the result, they combine numbers, cell references, and these arithmetic operators:

  • + to add
  • - to subtract
  • * to multiply
  • / to divide
  • % to take a percent
  • ^ to raise to a power (or exponent)
  • ( ) to change the order of calculation

Excel calculates formulas from left to right, following a set order of operations. Enclosing part of a formula in parentheses changes the order in which the items are calculated. Look at this example:

=(48 – 12)*2/9 +1

This formula equals 9 because the calculations inside the parentheses happen first multiplication and division next, and then addition and subtraction.

=(48 – 12)*2/(9 +1)

The added parenthesis makes this formula yield 7.2, since both the subtraction and addition operations inside the parentheses are executed before the normal order of operations.

Creating formulas is the most common skill used in building worksheets.

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