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Course contents

• Overview: Simple calculations in Excel • Lesson 1: Get started • Lesson 2: Use cell references • Lesson 3: Simplify formulas by using functions

Each lesson includes a list of suggested tasks and a set of test questions.

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**Overview: Simple calculations in Excel
**

After you try Excel, you’ll never go back to a calculator. In this course you’ll learn how to add, divide, multiply, and subtract by typing formulas into Excel worksheets. You’ll also learn how to use simple formulas that automatically update their results when values change.

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Course goals

• Do math by typing simple formulas to add, divide, multiply, and subtract. • Use cell references in formulas, so that Excel can automatically update results when values change or when you copy formulas. • Use functions (prewritten formulas) to add up values, calculate averages, and find the smallest or largest value in a range of values.

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Lesson 1

Get started

Get started

In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use Excel as your calculator by typing simple formulas into cells. You’ll also learn how to total all the values in a column with a formula that updates its results if values change later on. We’ll start with the example worksheet shown in the picture.

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A budget worksheet needs an amount in cell C6.

**Begin with an equal sign
**

Two CDs purchased in February cost $12.99 and $16.99. The total of these two values is the CD expense for the month. You do math in Excel by typing simple formulas into cells. Excel formulas always begin with an equal sign (=).

Typing a formula in a worksheet

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**Begin with an equal sign
**

Here’s how to add 12.99 and 16.99 in cell C6: • Type the formula =12.99+16.99. The plus sign (+) is a math operator that tells Excel to add the values. • Press ENTER to display the formula result, 29.98.

Typing a formula in a worksheet

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**Begin with an equal sign
**

Here’s how to add 12.99 and 16.99 in cell C6: • The formula appears in the formula bar near the top of the worksheet whenever you select cell C6.

Typing a formula in a worksheet

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**Use other math operators
**

Math operators Add (+) Subtract (-) Multiply (*) Divide (/) =10+5 =10-5 =10*5 =10/5

To do more than add, you can use other math operators as you type formulas into worksheet cells. You start each formula with an equal sign and then use a minus sign (-) to subtract, an asterisk (*) to multiply, and a forward slash (/) to divide.

Excel uses familiar signs to build formulas.

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**Total all the values in a column
**

To add up the total of expenses for January, as shown in the picture, you wouldn’t have to type all those values again. Instead, you could use a prewritten formula, called a function.

Using the AutoSum button to total column values

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**Total all the values in a column
**

To get your January total: • Select cell B7, and then click the AutoSum button on the Standard toolbar. The AutoSum button adds up all the values in a range of cells.

Using the AutoSum button to total column values

1. A colored marquee surrounds the cells in the formula, and the formula appears in cell B7.

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**Total all the values in a column
**

To get your January total: 1. Press ENTER. This displays the SUM function result 95.94 in cell B7. 1. Select cell B7 to display the formula =SUM(B3:B6) in the formula bar.

Using the AutoSum button to total column values

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**Total all the values in a column
**

B3:B6 is the information, called the argument, that tells the SUM function what to add. By using a cell reference (B3:B6) instead of the values in those cells, Excel can automatically update results if values change later on.

Using the AutoSum button to total column values

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**Total all the values in a column
**

The colon (:) in B3:B6 indicates a cell range in column B, cells 3 through 6. The parentheses are required to separate the argument from the function.

Using the AutoSum button to total column values

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**Copy a formula instead of creating a new one
**

Sometimes it’s easier to copy formulas than to create new ones. In this example, you’ll see how to copy the January formula and use it to add up the February expenses.

Copying a formula

Start by selecting cell B7, which contains the January formula. Then position the mouse pointer over the lower-right corner of the cell until the black cross (+) appears.

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**Copy a formula instead of creating a new one
**

Next: • Drag the fill handle over cell C7 and then release it. The February total 126.93 appears in cell C7.

Copying a formula

• After the formula is copied, the AutoFill Options button appears to give you some formatting options.

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**Suggestions for practice
**

1. Create a formula to add. 2. Create formulas for other arithmetic. 3. Add up a column of numbers. 4. Copy a formula. 5. Add up a row of numbers. Online practice (requires Excel 2003)

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Test 1, question 1

What do you type into an empty cell to start a formula? (Pick one answer.) 1. * 2. ( 3. =

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**Test 1, question 1: Answer
**

= An equal sign tells Excel that a calculation follows it.

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Test 1, question 2

What is a function? (Pick one answer.)

1. A prewritten formula. 2. A math operator.

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**Test 1, question 2: Answer
**

A prewritten formula.

Functions are prewritten formulas, such as SUM, that save time.

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Test 1, question 3

A formula result is in cell C6. You wonder how you got the result. To see the formula, you do which of the following? (Pick one answer.) 1. Select cell C6, and then press CTRL+SHIFT. 2. Select cell C6, and then press F5. 3. Select cell C6.

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**Test 1, question 3: Answer
**

Select cell C6.

It’s that simple. The formula is visible in the formula bar near the top of the worksheet whenever you select cell C6. Or you can double-click cell C6 to see the formula in cell C6. Then press ENTER to see the formula result again in the cell.

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Lesson 2

Use cell references

**Use cell references
**

Cell reference s A10 A10,A20 A10:A20 Refer to values in the cell in column A and row 10 cell A10 and cell A20 the range of cells in column A and rows 10 through 20 the range of cells in row 15 and columns B through E the range of cells in columns A through E and rows 10 through 20

Cell references identify individual cells or cell ranges in a worksheet. They tell Excel where to look for values to use in a formula. In this lesson you’ll see why Excel can automatically update the results of formulas that use cell references, and how cell references work when you copy formulas.

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B15:E15

A10:E20

Cell references

**Update formula results
**

Suppose it turned out that the 11.97 in cell C4 for video rentals in February was incorrect. A rental of 3.99 was left out. To add 3.99 to 11.97, you would select cell C4 and type this formula into the cell: =11.97+3.99

Excel can automatically update totals to include changed values.

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**Update formula results
**

As the picture shows, when the value in cell C4 changes, Excel automatically updates the February total in cell C7 from 126.93 to 130.92. Excel can do this because the original formula =SUM(C3:C6) in cell C7 contains cell references.

Excel can automatically update totals to include changed values.

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**Update formula results
**

If you had entered 11.97 and other specific values into a formula in cell C7, Excel would not be able to update the total. You’d have to change 11.97 to 15.96 not only in cell C4, but in the formula in cell C7 as well.

Excel can automatically update totals to include changed values.

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**Other ways to enter cell references
**

You can type cell references directly into cells, or you can enter cell references by clicking cells, which avoids typing errors. In the first lesson you saw how to use the SUM function to add all the values in a column. You could also use the SUM function to add just a few values in a column, by selecting the cell references to include.

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Selecting cell references to add a few values

**Other ways to enter cell references
**

Imagine that you want to know the combined cost for video rentals and CDs in February. You don’t need to store the total, so you could enter the formula into an empty cell and delete it later. The example uses cell C9.

Selecting cell references to add a few values

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**Other ways to enter cell references
**

Here’s how to enter the formula: • Type the equal sign, type SUM, and type an opening parenthesis in cell C9. • Click cell C4, then type a comma in cell C9.

Selecting cell references to add a few values

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**Other ways to enter cell references
**

Here’s how to enter the formula: 1. Click cell C6. Then type a closing parenthesis in cell C9. 1. Press ENTER to display the formula result of 45.94. The arguments C4 and C6 tell the SUM function what values to calculate with.

Selecting cell references to add a few values

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Reference types

Now that you’ve learned more about using cell references, it’s time to talk about the different types of references that are used in formulas: absolute, relative, and mixed.

Relative and absolute cell references

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Reference types

Here are the details: • Relative references automatically change as they are copied down a column or across a row.

Relative and absolute cell references

• Absolute references are fixed; they don’t change if you copy a formula from one cell to another. Absolute references have dollar signs ($) like this: $D$9.

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Reference types

A mixed cell reference has either an absolute column and a relative row, or an absolute row and a relative column. As a mixed reference is copied from one cell to another, the absolute reference stays the same but the relative reference changes.

Relative and absolute cell references

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**Use an absolute cell reference
**

Say you receive a package of entertainment coupons offering a 7 percent discount for video rentals. How much could you save in a month by using the coupons?

Using an absolute cell reference

To figure it out, you could create a formula to multiply those February expenses by 7 percent, using absolute references to refer to cells that you don’t want to change as the formula is copied.

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**Use an absolute cell reference
**

Type the discount rate of 0.07 in the empty cell D9, and then type a formula in cell D4, starting with =C4*. Then enter a dollar sign ($) and D to make an absolute reference to column D, and $9 to make an absolute reference to row 9. Your formula will multiply the value in cell C4 by the value in cell D9.

Using an absolute cell reference

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**Use an absolute cell reference
**

Next, copy the formula from cell D4 to D5 by using the fill handle . As the formula is copied, the relative cell reference changes from C4 to C5, while the absolute reference to the discount in D9 does not change —it remains $D$9 in each row it is copied to.

Using an absolute cell reference

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**Use an absolute cell reference
**

So, to recap the relative and absolute cell references in the example: 1. Relative cell references change from row to row.

Using an absolute cell reference

2. The absolute cell reference always refers to cell D9. 3. Cell D9 contains the value for the 7 percent discount.

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**Suggestions for practice
**

1. Type cell references in a formula. 2. Select cell references in a formula. 3. Use an absolute reference in a formula. 4. Add up several results. 5. Change values and totals. Online practice (requires Excel 2003)

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Test 2, question 1

What is an absolute cell reference? (Pick one answer.) 1. The cell reference automatically changes when the formula is copied down a column or across a row. 2. The cell reference is fixed. 3. The cell reference uses the A1 reference style.

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**Test 2, question 1: Answer
**

The cell reference is fixed. Absolute cell references won’t change if you copy a formula from one cell to another.

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Test 2, question 2

Which cell reference refers to a range of cells in column B, rows 3 through 6? (Pick one answer.) 1. (B3:B6) 2. (B3,B6)

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**Test 2, question 2: Answer
**

(B3:B6) The colon indicates a range of cells starting at B3 and including B4, B5, and B6.

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Test 2, question 3

If you copy the formula =C4*$D$9 from cell C4 to cell C5, what will the formula be in cell C5? (Pick one answer.) 1. =C5*$D$9 2. =C4*$D$ 3. =C5*$E$10

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**Test 2, question 3: Answer
**

=C5*$D$9

As the formula is copied, the relative cell reference, C4, changes to C5. The absolute cell reference, $D$9, does not change; it remains the same in each row it is copied to.

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Lesson 3

Simplify formulas by using functions

**Simplify formulas by using functions
**

Function AVERAGE MAX MIN Calculate s an average the largest number the smallest number

Function names express long formulas quickly.

SUM is just one of the many Excel functions. These prewritten formulas simplify the process of entering calculations, making it easy and quick to create formulas that might be difficult to build for yourself. In this lesson you’ll see how to speed up tasks with a few easy functions.

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Find an average

You could use the AVERAGE function to find the average cost of all entertainment for January and February: • Click in cell D7, click the arrow on the AutoSum button , and then click Average in the list. 1. Press ENTER to display the result in cell D7.

Using the AVERAGE function

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Find an average

The formula =AVERAGE(B7:C7) appears in the formula bar near the top of the worksheet. You could also type this formula directly into the cell.

Using the AVERAGE function

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**Find the largest or smallest value
**

The MAX function finds the largest number in a range of numbers, and the MIN function finds the smallest number in a range.

Using the MAX function

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**Find the largest or smallest value
**

Here’s a formula to find the largest value in the set: • Click in cell F7, click the arrow on the AutoSum button, and then click Max in the list.

Using the MAX function

• Press ENTER to display the result in F7. The largest value is 131.95.

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**Find the largest or smallest value
**

Finding the smallest value in the range is a similar process: You’d click Min in the list and press ENTER. The smallest value would be 131.75.

Using the MAX function

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Print formulas

You can print formulas to put up on your bulletin board to remind you how to create them. • On the Tools menu, point to Formula Auditing, and then click Formula Auditing Mode. 1. Print as you usually would.

Formulas displayed on the worksheet

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**What’s that funny thing in my worksheet?
**

Sometimes Excel can’t calculate a formula because the formula contains an error. If that happens, you’ll see an error value instead of a result in a cell.

The ##### error value

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**What’s that funny thing in my worksheet?
**

Here are three common error values: ##### The column is not wide enough to display the contents of the cell. Increase column width, shrink the contents to fit the column, or apply a different number format. #REF! A cell reference is not valid. Cells may have been deleted or pasted over.

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The ##### error value

**What’s that funny thing in my worksheet?
**

Here are three common error values: #NAME? You may have misspelled a function name or used a name that Excel does not recognize.

The ##### error value

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**Find more functions
**

Excel offers many other useful functions, such as date and time functions and functions you can use to manipulate text. You can see these other functions by clicking More Functions in the AutoSum list. This opens the Insert Function dialog box, which helps you search for a function and provides another way to enter formulas.

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The Insert Function dialog box

**Find more functions
**

When the dialog box is open, you can type what you want to do in the Search for a function box, or select a category and then scroll through the list of functions.

The Insert Function dialog box

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**Suggestions for practice
**

1. Find an average. 2. Find the largest number. 3. Find the smallest number. 4. Display and hide formulas. 5. Create and fix error values. 6. Create and fix the error value #NAME. Online practice (requires Excel 2003)

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Test 3, question 1

How would you print formulas? (Pick one answer.) • Click Print on the File menu. • Click Normal on the View menu, and then click Print. • Point to Formula Auditing on the Tools menu, click Formula Auditing Mode, and then print as usual.

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**Test 3, question 1: Answer
**

Point to Formula Auditing on the Tools menu, click Formula Auditing Mode, and then print as usual. This displays the formulas on your worksheet before you print.

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Test 3, question 2

What does ##### mean? (Pick one answer.) 1. The column isn’t wide enough to display the content. 2. The cell reference isn’t valid. 3. You’ve misspelled a function name or used a name that Excel doesn’t recognize.

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**Test 3, question 2: Answer
**

The column isn’t wide enough to display the content.

You can increase the column width to display the content.

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