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Understanding the Difference Between Formulas and Functions

In Excel, you can perform calculations by using formulas and functions:

• By using a formula. A formula is a custom calculation that you create when none of Excel's functions (discussed next) does what you need. The word formula tends to sound imposing, but a formula can be a simple calculation; for example, to subtract 50 from 100, you can type `=100-50` in a cell (the equal sign tells Excel you're starting a formula). Formulas can also be more complex, as you'll see later in this chapter.
• By using a function. A function is a preset calculation that performs a standard calculation. For example, when you need to add several values together, you use the `SUM()` function—for instance, `=SUM(A1:A6) ...`

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