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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Creating a Simple Formula

A formula calculates values to return a result. On an Excel worksheet, you can create a formula using values (such as 147 or $10.00), arithmetic operators (shown in the table), and cell references. An Excel formula always begins with the equal sign (=). The equal sign, when entered, automatically formats the cell as a formula entry. The best way to start a formula is to have an argument. An argument is the cell references or values in a formula that contribute to the result. Each function uses function-specific arguments, which may include numeric values, text values, cell references, ranges of cells, and so on. To accommodate long, complex formulas, you can resize the formula bar to prevent formulas from covering other data in your worksheet. By default, only formula results are displayed in a cell, but you can change the view of the worksheet to display formulas instead of results.

Enter a Formula

  • lightyellow_01.jpg Click the cell where you want to enter a formula.
  • lightyellow_02.jpg Type = (an equal sign). If you do not begin with an equal sign, Excel will display, not calculate, the information you type.
  • lightyellow_03.jpg Enter the first argument. An argument can be a number or a cell reference.
  • lightyellow_04.jpg Enter an arithmetic operator.
  • lightyellow_05.jpg Enter the next argument.
  • lightyellow_06.jpg Repeat steps 4 and 5 as needed to complete the formula.
  • lightyellow_07.jpg Click the Enter button on the formula bar, or press Enter.

    Notice that the result of the formula appears in the cell (if you select the cell, the formula itself appears on the formula bar).

Resize the Formula Bar

  • To switch between expanding the formula box to three or more lines or collapsing it to one line, click the double-down arrow at the end of the formula bar. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+U.
  • To precisely adjust the height of the formula box, point to the bottom of the formula box until the pointer changes to a vertical double arrow, and then drag up or down, and then click the vertical double arrow or press Enter.
  • To automatically fit the formula box to the number of lines of text in the active cell, point to the formula box until the pointer changes to a vertical double arrow, and then double-click the vertical arrow.

Display Formulas in Cells

  • lightyellow_01.jpg Click the Formulas tab.
  • lightyellow_02.jpg Click the Show Formulas button.
  • lightyellow_03.jpg To turn off formula display, click the Show Formulas button again.
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