Adding Quick Formulas

Plunking a formula into a cell and then copying it into neighboring cells works just fine, but because repeating a formula is such a common activity, Numbers provides a shortcut in the form of quick formulas. Like instant calculations, quick formulas offer fast access to common actions, but they’re specifically tuned for inserting formulas into your table—and best of all, they can add formulas to lots of cells in one swoop. You can use these one-click wonders on any selection of neighboring cells in the same row or column, but they’re especially clever when applied to header or footer cells, instantly adding row or column tallies to your table.

You can apply a quick formula by selecting one or more cells and choosing a function from the Function pop-up button in the toolbar, or from the Insert → Function submenu. Functions are the predefined calculations that Numbers knows how to do. As you’ll learn in the next chapter, Numbers knows over 250 functions, many of them managing complex algorithms appropriate to the financial or engineering worlds. Quick formulas, however, stick to the basics, giving you easy access to six of the simplest and most commonly used functions:

  • Sum adds up the selected cells.

  • Average calculates the mean value of the cells.

  • Minimum displays the lowest value among the cells.

  • Maximum displays the highest value among the cells.

  • Count shows the number of numeric or date/time values in the cells (text values aren’t included in the tally).

  • Product ...

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