Creating Simple Formulas

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


Word 2007Excel can be used to calculate and analyze numerical information; however, you will need to know how to write formulas to maximize Excel's capabilities. A formula is an equation that performs a calculation using values in the worksheet. In this lesson, you will learn how to create simple formulas using mathematical operators such as the addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division signs.

Simple formulas

Download the example to work along with the video.

To create a simple formula that adds two numbers:

Simple Addition Formula

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.

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.

To create a simple formula that adds the contents of two cells:

Formula with Cell Reference

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

Point and Click
Point and Click

To create a simple formula that multiplies the contents of two cells:

Multiplication Formula

To create a simple formula that divides one cell by another:

Using cell references

As you can see, there are many ways to create a simple formula in Excel. Most likely, you will choose one of the methods that enters the cell address into the formula rather than an actual number. The cell address is basically the name of the cell and can be found in the Name Box.

Select Cell

The following example uses actual numbers in the formula in C5.

Simple Addition Formula

When a cell address is used as part of a formula, this is called a cell reference. It is called a cell reference because instead of entering specific numbers into a formula, the cell address refers to a specific cell. The following example uses cell references in the formula in C30.

Point and Click


Use the Budget workbook or any Excel workbook you choose to complete this challenge.