Creating Complex Formulas

Excel XP automatically follows a standard order of operations in a complex formula. If you want a certain portion of the formula to be calculated first, put it in parentheses.

If we wanted to add the contents of cell B2 and cell B3, for example, then take that answer and multiply it by the data in cell A4, we would need to define the following formula: **=(B2+B3)*A4**.

- Enter the numbers you want to calculate.
- Click the cell where you want the formula
**result**to appear. - Type the equals sign (=) to let Excel know that a formula is being defined.
- Type an open parenthesis, or (.
- Click the
**first cell**to be included in the formula (cell B2, for example). - Type the
**addition sign (+)**to let Excel know that an add operation is to be performed. - Click the
**second cell**in the formula. The reference B3 displays where you want your result. - End the B2+B3 operation by adding a closed parenthesis, or ).
- Type the next mathematical operator, or the
**multiplication symbol (*)**, to let Excel know that a multiply operation is to be performed. - Click the
**third cell**to be included in the formula, cell A4. - Press
**Enter**or click the**Enter button**on the formula bar to complete the formula.

Try changing one of the values in the formula and watch the answer to the formula change.

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 the Double-Check Your Formulas lesson from our Excel Formulas tutorial.