Microsoft Excel is, at its core, a calculation engine. Like a calculator, it accepts a question (such as 2+2) and gives you an answer. When you’re working with a calculator, these questions are called mathematical operations. In Excel, you call these formulas.
Excel allows you to use formulas to perform not only mathematical operations but also a myriad of other complex actions, such as parsing textual values, searching for certain values in a range of data, performing recursive calculations, and much more.
To leverage the full power of Excel formulas, you need to understand how Excel formulas work as well as some of the ground rules for working with formulas. The goal of this chapter, therefore, is for you to get acquainted with the fundamentals of using Excel formulas.
An Excel spreadsheet is simply a collection of cells that you can use to enter data. Each cell is given a name based on its position in the spreadsheet. The top-leftmost cell is called ...