Basic Statistics and Data Analysis

Lecture notes, MCQS of Statistics

Category: Microsoft Excel

Changing the data and creating Formula in MS-Excel

Changing the data

Before writing your required formula, you need numeric data in different columns or rows of Excels’ sheet. Suppose you want to enter few numbers in a column. Before entry these number you should first confirm the cell reference where you need to enter the data. Let start by entry number in Excels’ cell A1 and A2. For this purpose follow steps given below

  1. Click on the cell A1
  2. Type 3 from keyboard
  3. Press the ENTER or DOWN ARROW key on the keyboard. You will be in Cell A2
  4. Now type say 2 from keyboard and press ENTER key

Suppose you want to add these number in Cell C1. You need to write a formula in cell C1. After writing correct formula the content of Cell C1 will immediately changes to addition of two numbers typed in A1 and A2 and used in C1 as formula content.


Creating Formula in MS-Excel

In Excel, each formula begins with a equal sign (=), see the picture below


Therefore, when creating formulas in Excel, ALWAYS start by typing the equal sign. Equal sign is typed in the Cell where you want the answer to appear. Like image above, follow these steps

  1. Click on cell C1 with ARROW keys from keyboard or with mouse pointer.
  2. Type the equal sign in cell C1.

After typing the equal sign in step 2, you have two choices for adding cell references to the spreadsheet formula. Note that cell reference is the name of cell you want to use in formula. A1 and Aexcel-data-and-formula2 are cell references of numbers 3 and 2, respectively.

  1. You can type these references in or,
  2. You can use an Excel feature called Pointing

Pointing allows you to click with your mouse on the cell contain the data or approaching to a cell reference using keyboard ARROW keys containing your data to add. This will add cell reference toexcel-data-and-formula the formula.

After typing an equal sign in cell C3 in step 2:

  1. Click on cell A1 with the mouse pointer to enter the cell reference into the formula
  2. Type a plus (+) sign. You can also use other operators such as for multiplication use you have to use * symbol, for division / symbol and for subtraction use – etc.
  3. Click on cell A2 with the mouse pointer to enter the cell reference into the formula
  4. Press the ENTER key on the keyboard

The answer 5 should appear in cell C1.

Note if you have more than one row or column of data then you need to perform calculations on each row or column cell. It is often possible to copy the first formula to other cells. The easiest way to do this is to copy formulas with the file handle.


See also Creating Formula in Microsoft Excel


Writing Excel Formulas

Writing Excel formulas is a little different than the way it is done in mathematics class. All Excel formulas starts with equal sign (=), that is, the equal sign always goes in that cell where you want the answer to appear from formula. Therefore, the equal sign informs Excel that this is formula not just a name or number. Excel formula looks like

= 3 + 2

rather than

3+2 =

Cell References in Formula

The example of formula has one drawback. If you want to change the number being calculated (3, and 2), you need to edit it or re-write the formula. A better way is to write formula in such a way that you can change the numbers without changing or re-writing the formulas themselves. To do this, cell references are used, which tells Excel that data/ numbers are located in a cell. Therefore a cell’s location/ reference in the spreadsheet is referred to as its cell reference.

To find a cell reference, simply click the cell of which you need cell reference and from NAME BOX (shown in figure below), see the text, such as F2.

Excel formula 1

F2 represents the cell in F column (horizontal position) and row 2 (vertical position). It means cells reference can also be found by reading column heading (at the top most position) of the cells and row number (at the left most position). Therefore, cell reference is a combination of the column letter and row number such as A1, B2, Z5, and A106 etc. For previous formula example, instead of writing = 3 + 2 in cell suppose (C1), follow this way of cell reference and formula writing:

In cell A1 write 3, and in cell B2 write 2. In C1 cell write the formula such as,

= A1 + A2

Excel Formula 2

Note that there is no gap between A & 1 and A & 2, they are simply A1 and A2. See the diagram for clear understanding.

Updating Excel Formula

Upon wrong cell references in Excel formula, the results from formula will be automatically updated, whenever the data value in relevant cells is changed. For example, if you want to change data in cell A1 to 8 instead of 3, you only need to change the content of A1 only. The result of formula in cell C1 will automatically be updated after the updation of data value in A1 or B1.

Note that the formula will not change because the cells references are being used instead of data values or numbers.



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