# Excel 2010

## Creating Simple Formulas

### Introduction

Excel can be used to calculate numerical information. In this lesson, you will learn how to **create simple formulas** in Excel to add, subtract, multiply, and divide values in a workbook. Also, you will learn the various ways you can use **cell references** to make working with formulas easier and more efficient.

** **

### Simple formulas

A **formula** is an equation that performs a calculation. Like a calculator, Excel can execute formulas that add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

One of the most useful features of Excel is its ability to calculate using a cell address to represent the value in a cell. This is called using a cell reference.

In order to maximize the capabilities of Excel, it is important to understand how to **create simple formulas and use cell references**.

### Creating simple formulas

Excel uses standard operators for equations, such as a **plus sign** for addition (+), **minus sign** for subtraction (-), **asterisk** for multiplication (*), **forward slash** for division (/), and **caret** (^) for exponents.

The key thing to remember when writing formulas for Excel is that all formulas must begin with an **equals sign** (=). This is because the cell contains, or is equal to, the formula and its value.

#### To create a simple formula in Excel:

- Select the cell where the answer will appear (B4, for example).
Selecting cell B4
- Type the
**equals sign (=)**. - Type in the formula you want Excel to calculate. For example, "75/250".
Entering formula in B4
- Press
**Enter**. The formula will be calculated, and the value will be displayed in the cell.Result in B4

If the result of a formula is too large to be displayed in a cell, it may appear as **pound signs** (#######) instead of a value. This means that the column is not wide enough to display the cell content. Simply **increase the column width** to show the cell content.

### Creating formulas with cell references

When a formula contains a cell address, it is called a **cell reference**. Creating a formula with cell references is useful because you can update data in your worksheet without having to rewrite the values in the formula.

#### To create a formula using cell references:

- Select the cell where the answer will appear (B3, for example).
Selecting cell B3
- Type the
**equals sign (=)**. - Type the cell address that contains the first number in the equation (B1, for example).
Entering a formula in B3
- Type the operator you need for your formula. For example, type the
**addition sign (+)**. - Type the cell address that contains the second number in the equation (B2, for example).
Entering a formula in B3
- Press
**Enter**. The formula will be calculated, and the value will be displayed in the cell.Result in B3

If you change a value in either B1 or B2, the total will automatically recalculate.

Excel **will not always tell you** if your formula contains an error, so it's up to you to check all of your formulas. To learn how to do this, read our article on why you should Double-Check Your Excel Formulas.

#### To create a formula using the point-and-click method:

- Select the cell where the answer will appear (B4, for example).
Selecting cell B4
- Type the
**equals sign (=)**. - Click on the
**first cell**to be included in the formula (A3, for example).Clicking cell A3 - Type the operator you need for your formula. For example, type the
**multiplication sign (*)**. - Click on the
**next cell**in the formula (B3, for example).Clicking cell B3 - Press
**Enter**. The formula will be calculated, and the value will be displayed in the cell.Result in B4

#### To edit a formula:

- Click on the cell you want to edit.
- Insert the cursor in the
**formula bar**, and edit the formula as desired. You can also**double-click the cell to view and edit the formula directly**from the cell. - When finished, press
**Enter**or select the**Enter**command .Edit a formula - The new value will be displayed in the cell.
Result

If you change your mind, use the **Cancel** command in the formula bar to avoid accidentally making changes to your formula.

### Challenge!

- Open an existing Excel workbook. If you want, you can use this example.
- Write a simple division formula. If you are using the example, write the formula in cell B18 to calculate the painting cost per square foot.
- Write a simple addition formula using cell references. If you are using the example, write the formula in cell F5 to calculate the total budget.
- Write a simple subtraction formula using the point-and-click method. If you are using the example, subtract the "Expand Bathroom" cost (C6) from the "Total" cost (C11). Calculate your answer in C12.
- Edit a formula using the formula bar.