**In This Chapter**

This chapter provides an overview of Excel’s formula-related features and describes some techniques that might be new to you.

An overview of Excel formulas

Differentiating between absolute and relative references in formulas

Understanding and using names

Introducing array formulas

Counting and summing cells

Working with dates and times

Creating megaformulas

Virtually every successful spreadsheet application uses formulas. In fact, constructing formulas can certainly be construed as a type of programming.

For a much more comprehensive treatment of Excel formulas and functions, refer to my book, *Excel 2007 Formulas* (Wiley).

Formulas, of course, are what make a spreadsheet a spreadsheet. If it weren’t for formulas, your worksheet would just be a static document — something that could be produced by a word processor that has great support for tables.

Excel has a huge assortment of built-in functions, has excellent support for names, and even supports *array formulas* (a special type of formula that can perform otherwise impossible calculations).

A formula entered into a cell can consist of any of the following elements:

Operators such as + (for addition) and * (for multiplication)

Cell references (including named cells and ranges)

Numbers or text strings

Worksheet functions (such as SUM or AVERAGE)

A formula in Excel 2007 can consist ...

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