Creating Complex Formulas

In Excel complex formulas can include several operations. Use complex formulas in Excel to calculate more extensive data.

To create a complex formula using the order of operations:

In this example, we'll use cell references in addition to actual values to create a complex formula that will add tax to the nursery order.

  1. Click the cell where you want the formula result to appear (F11, for example).
  2. Type the equals sign (=).
  3. Type an open parenthesis, then click the cell that contains the first value you want in the formula (F4, for example).
  4. Type the first mathematical operator (the addition sign, for example).
  5. Click the cell that contains the second value you want in the formula (F5, for example), then type a closed parenthesis.
  6. Type the next mathematical operator (the multiplication sign, for example).
  7. Type the next value in the formula (0.055 for 5.5% tax, for example).
    Row 4, Column D Typing a formula
  8. Click Enter to calculate your formula. The results show that $2.12 is the tax for the nursery order.
    Result in F11 Result in F11

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.