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Office 2010 Made Simple by Guy Hart-Davis

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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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