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# Chapter 11. Formulas and Functions

Calculations are the way Excel “does the math.” Even if you’re only using Excel to keep lists, you may have numbers on which you’d like to perform some calculations (for example, totaling the number of items sold or computing bowling averages). Excel excels at calculations of this sort and provides tools to save you time and effort.

For instance, suppose you want to calculate the total of a column of numbers. You would create a formula in the cell beneath the column. The formula might look like this:

`=SUM(B2:B12)`

All formulas begin with an equal sign (`=`), which enables Excel to distinguish them from text or a number. When you’ve finished entering the formula and move to another cell, Excel evaluates the formula ...

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