Changing the data
Before writing your required formula, you need numeric data in different columns or rows of the Excel sheet. Suppose you want to enter a few numbers in a column. Before entering these numbers you should first confirm the cell reference where you need to enter the data. Let’s start by entering numbers in Excel’s cells $A1$ and $A2$. For this purpose follow the steps given below
- Click on the cell $A1$
- Type 3 from keyboard
- Press the ENTER or DOWN ARROW key on the keyboard. You will be in Cell A2
- Now type say 2 from the keyboard and press the ENTER key
Suppose you want to add these numbers in Cell $C1$. You need to write a formula in cell $C1$. After writing the correct formula the content of Cell $C1$ will immediately change to the addition of two numbers typed in $A1$ and $A2$ and used in $C1$ as formula content.
Creating Formulas in MS Excel
In this section, we will learn about Creating Formulas in MS Excel. In Excel, each formula begins with an equal sign ($=$), see the picture below
Therefore, when creating formulas in Excel, ALWAYS start by typing the equal sign. The equal sign is typed in the Cell where you want the answer to appear. Like the image above, follow these steps
- Click on cell $C1$ with ARROW keys from the keyboard or with the mouse pointer.
- 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 the cell you want to use in the formula. $A1$ and $A2$ are cell references of numbers 3 and 2, respectively.
- You can type these references in or,
- You can use an Excel feature called Pointing
Pointing allows you to click with your mouse on the cell that contains the data or approach a cell reference using the keyboard ARROW keys containing your data to add. This will add cell reference to the formula.
After typing an equal sign in cell C3 in step 2:
- Click on cell $A1$ with the mouse pointer to enter the cell reference into the formula
- Type a plus (+) sign. You can also use other operators such as for multiplication use you have to use the * symbol, for division/symbol, and for subtraction use $–$, etc.
- Click on cell $A2$ with the mouse pointer to enter the cell reference into the formula
- 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 Formulas in Microsoft Excel
Learn about Primary and Secondary Data