Chapter 2: Basic Facts about Formulas

In This Chapter

• How to enter, edit, and paste names into formulas

• The various operators used in formulas

• How Excel calculates formulas

• Cell and range references used in formulas

• Copying and moving cells and ranges

• How to make an exact copy of a formula

• How to convert formulas to values

• How to prevent formulas from being viewed

• The types of formula errors

• Circular reference messages and correction techniques

• Excel's goal seeking feature

This chapter serves as a basic introduction to using formulas in Excel. Although it's intended primarily for newcomers to Excel, even veteran Excel users may find some new information here.

Entering and Editing Formulas

This section describes the basic elements of a formula. It also explains various ways of entering and editing your formulas.

Formula elements

A formula entered into a cell can consist of five elements:

• Operators: These include symbols such as + (for addition) and * (for multiplication).

• Cell references: These include named cells and ranges that can refer to cells in the current worksheet, cells in another worksheet in the same workbook, or even cells in a worksheet in another workbook.

• Values or text strings: Examples include 7.5 (a value) and “Year-End Results” (a string, enclosed in quotes).

• Worksheet functions and their arguments: These include functions such as SUM or AVERAGE and their arguments. Function arguments appear in parentheses and provide input for ...

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