Creating a Simple Formula

Simple formulas that work with values are easy to create. In essence, simple formulas use Excel like a calculator. These simple formulas are somewhat limiting because they don't use any values from the other cells in the worksheet. You can enter a formula into a cell, or you can enter it into the Formula bar.

The next To Do exercise gives you a chance to create and edit some simple formulas. Because the formulas are only for practice, you should be working on a blank worksheet.

To Do: Work with Simple Formulas

  1. The first formula adds a series of numbers together. Click into a blank cell on the worksheet and type =35+35+35. When you're done typing, press the Enter key. Notice that the result of the calculation, 105, appears in the cell. The formula is displayed in the Formula bar when the cell is selected.

  2. Amend the formula by clicking it and then pressing F2. The formula is displayed in the cell with the cursor flashing at the end of the formula. Type *15 and press Enter.

  3. Now edit the formula to add some parentheses. Double-click the cell that contains the formula. The formula appears. Notice that because you're in Edit mode, many toolbar buttons are unavailable. Use the left arrow keys to move to the first character to the right of the equal sign and then type an opening parenthesis. Use the right arrow key to move to the last character before the multiplication operator (*) and then type a closing parenthesis. When your formula looks like the one in Figure 5.5, press Enter. Notice how the order of calculations changes the result of the calculation.

    Figure 5.5. The parentheses change the order of operation in the formula.



The keystrokes that move you to the beginning and end of a file also work while you're editing a formula. Press Ctrl+Home to quickly move the cursor to the beginning of the formula. Press Ctrl+End to move to the end.

    Part I: Excel Basics