When using formulas in Excel you can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Use simple Excel formulas to also make cell references in Excel.

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. You'll also learn the various ways you can use **cell references** to make working with formulas easier and more efficient.

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

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

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

Optional: You can download this example for extra practice.

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.

- 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 (
**75/250**, for example).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 the column is not wide enough to display the cell content. Simply **increase the column width** to show the cell content.

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.

- 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.

Result in B3

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, you can read the Double-Check Your Formulas lesson from our Excel Formulas tutorial.

- Select the cell where the answer will appear (
**B4,**for example).Selecting cell B4 - Type the
**equals sign (=)**. - Click the
**first cell**to be included in the formula (**A3,**for example).Clicking cell A3 - Type the operator you need for the formula. For example, type the
**multiplication sign (*)**. - Click 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

- Click 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 you're done, 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.

- Open an
**existing Excel 2010 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**.