# Chapter 1: Introducing Excel Formulas

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. Feel free to skip over this chapter if you already have a solid understanding of formula mechanics and want to get right into real-world examples, which start in Chapter 2. You can download the files for all the formulas at www.wiley.com/go/101excelformula.

## Creating and Editing 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 ...

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