Chapter 9

Playing with Formulas


Creating formulas

Using functions

Editing formulas

Conditional formatting

Manipulating data with Goal Seeking

Creating multiple scenarios

Auditing formulas

Validating data

What makes Excel useful is its ability to manipulate data by using formulas. Formulas can be as simple as adding two or more numbers together or as complicated as calculating a second-order differential equation.

Formulas use data, stored in other cells, to calculate a new result that appears in another cell. To create even more complicated spreadsheets, you can even make a formula use data from other formulas so that changes in a single cell can ripple throughout an entire spreadsheet.

Creating a Formula

Formulas consist of three crucial bits of information:

  • An equal sign (=)
  • One or more cell references
  • The type of calculation to do on the data (addition, subtraction, and so on)

technicalstuff The equal sign (=) simply tells Excel not to treat the formula as text but as instructions for calculating something.

A cell reference is simply the unique row and column heading that identifies a single cell, such as A4 or D9.

The four common calculations that a formula can use are addition (+), subtraction (–), multiplication (*), and division ( / ). Table 9-1 lists mathematical operators you can use in a formula.

TABLE 9-1: Common Mathematical Operators Used to Create Formulas ...

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