Many users only use spreadsheets to create lists or tables, which are then easily modified or look good when you print them.
But the real purpose of a spreadsheet is, as the name implies, to calculate… And this is done through formulas that are applied to one or more cells.
In this Excel tutorial, we will explain how to create simple formulas in Excel. It’s simple to do and very practical because it saves you a lot of work.
Run any version of Excel (works with the free version of Excel Online).
Formulas in Excel start with the = sign to indicate that the result of what you do after the sign will be what appears in the cell.
If you have to do a simple and punctual mathematical operation, you just have to type the operation in the cell itself, starting with the = sign.
For example, if you have to add 48+74, you type in the Excel cell: =48+74 and the result will appear: 122.
Also, when you place the cursor in the cell, the formula bar will show the operation you carried out.
You can perform any single or combined operation using the signs of add (+), subtract (-), multiply (*) and divide (/). If you want to know more about how to perform mathematical operations in Excel, take a look at this tutorial to use Excel as a calculator.
Formulas with several cells
Another very frequent operation when working with spreadsheets is to operate with the contents of several cells.
As you know, each cell in a spreadsheet is defined by its coordinates. Columns are letters and rows are numbers, so the cell in column C, row 5, is called C5.
If we want to operate with two cells, it is as simple as using their name. For example, to add the contents of cell B2 and cell C4, we write in the cell where we want the result: =B2+C4
When you press Enter, you will get the result. Of course, it works with other operators: multiplication, subtraction, division, etc.
Let’s make it a little more interesting. Suppose we have to add 15 different cells. Writing all their names is heavy. What we have to do is write the sign = at the beginning of the formula, but instead of typing the cells manually, we click with the mouse on the one we want to use, and its name will be placed automatically. Type the + sign or any other when necessary, and continue clicking on the cells that we want to include in the operation:
Formulas with rows and columns
When using Excel it is also very common that you need to add the contents of an entire row or a column. For example, a list of expenses. Let’s see how to operate with cell ranges.
In the cell, the result type the sign =
Then type SUMA. As you type, you’ll see on screen all the basic formulas you can use. After selecting SUMA, click on the cell at the beginning of the row you want to add, and then on the last cell in the row. Excel will automatically take the whole row, or the whole column (depending on where you put the beginning and end):
As you can see in the image, ranges are designated with the colon: For example, (C1: C4) indicates that all cells from C1 to C4 are used, i.e. also C2 and C3.
We have learned to create simple formulas in Excel.