# Microsoft excel simple formulas

## Introduction of Excel

Excel: One of the most powerful features in Excel is the ability to **calculate **numerical information using **formulas**. Just like a calculator, Excel can add, subtract, multiply, and divide. In this lesson, we’ll show you how to use **cell references** to create simple formulas.

Mathematical operators

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

All formulas in Excel must begin with an **equals sign** (**=**). This is because the cell contains, or is equal to, the formula and the value it calculates.

#### Understanding cell references

While you can create simple formulas in Excel manually (for example, **=2+2** or **=5*5**), most of the time you will use **cell addresses **to create a formula. This is known as making a **cell reference**. Using cell references will ensure that your formulas are always accurate because you can change the value of referenced cells without having to rewrite the formula.

By combining a mathematical operator with cell references, you can create a variety of simple formulas in Excel. Formulas can also include a combination of cell references and numbers, as in the examples below:

#### To create a formula:

## Introduction of Excel

In our example below, we’ll use a simple formula and cell references to calculate a budget.

- Select the
**cell**that will contain the formula. In our example, we’ll select cell**B3**. - Type the
**equals sign (=)**. Notice how it appears in both the**cell**and the**formula****bar**. - Type the
**cell****address**of the cell you want to reference first in the formula: cell**B1**in our example. A**blue border**will appear around the referenced cell. - Type the
**mathematical operator**you want to use. In our example, we’ll type the**addition sign**(**+**). - Type the
**cell address**of the cell you want to reference second in the formula: cell**B2**in our example. A**red border**will appear around the referenced cell. - Press
**Enter**on your keyboard. The formula will be**calculated**, and the**value**will be displayed in the cell.

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.

#### Modifying values with cell references

The true advantage of cell references is that they allow you to **update** **data** in your worksheet without having to rewrite formulas. In the example below, we’ve modified the value of cell B1 from $1,200 to $1,800. The formula in B3 will automatically recalculate and display the new value in cell 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.

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

Rather than typing cell addresses manually, you can **point and click** on the cells you want to include in your formula. This method can save a lot of time and effort when creating formulas. In our example below, we’ll create a formula to calculate the cost of ordering several boxes of plastic silverware.

- Select the
**cell**that will contain the formula. In our example, we’ll select cell**D3**. - Type the
**equals sign (=)**. - Select the
**cell**you want to reference first in the formula: cell**B3**in our example. The**cell address**will appear in the formula, and a**dashed blue line**will appear around the referenced cell. - Type the
**mathematical operator**you want to use. In our example, we’ll type the**multiplication sign (*)**. - Select the
**cell**you want to reference second in the formula: cell**C3**in our example. The**cell address**will appear in the formula, and a**dashed red line**will appear around the referenced cell. - Press
**Enter**on your keyboard. The formula will be**calculated**, and the**value**will be displayed in the cell.

Formulas can also be **copied** to adjacent cells with the **fill** **handle**, which can save a lot of time and effort if you need to perform the** same calculation** multiple times in a worksheet. Review our lesson on Relative and Absolute Cell References to learn more.

#### To edit a formula:

Sometimes you may want to modify an existing formula. In the example below, we’ve entered an incorrect cell address in our formula, so we’ll need to correct it.

- Select the
**cell**containing the formula you want to edit. In our example, we’ll select cell**B3**. - Click the
**formula bar**to edit the formula. You can also**double-click**the cell to view and edit the formula directly within the cell. - A
**border**will appear around any referenced cells. In our example, we’ll change the second part of the formula to reference cell**B2**instead of cell**C2**. - When you’re finished, press
**Enter**on your keyboard or click the**checkmark**in the formula bar. - The formula will be
**updated**, and the**new value**will be displayed in the cell.

If you change your mind, you can press the **Esc** key on your keyboard to avoid accidentally making changes to your formula.

To show all of the formulas in a spreadsheet, you can hold the **Ctrl** key and press **`** (grave accent). The grave accent key is usually located in the top-left corner of the keyboard. You can press **Ctrl+`** again to switch back to the normal view.

For More Articles Visit: www.office.com/setup