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Using Formulas

A formula can be a combination of values (numbers or cell references) and mathematical operators into an algebraic expression. Mathematical operators include the following symbols:

+     for addition

-      for subtraction

*     for multiplication

/      for division

%    for percentage

^     for exponentiation (powers)

In addition you can use parentheses and decimal points, where needed.

Excel requires that EVERY formula begin with an equal sign (=). If you just type without this symbol, Excel treats the entry as text.

Formulas can be a combination of built-in functions and your own formulas.  You can either pick one of the built-in formulas that have already been defined or construct your own formula to obtain the same results.  If you wanted to find the average of the values in the cells A2 to A10 you could do this several ways:

= (A2 + A3 + A4 + A5 + A6 + A7 + A8 + A9 + A10)/9

= SUM (A2,A3,A4,A5,A6,A7,A8,A9,A10)/9

= SUM (A2:A10)/9

= AVERAGE (A2,A3,A4,A5,A6,A7,A8,A9,A10)

= AVERAGE (A2:A10)

These formulas would all give the same result if all the cells contained values but the easiest one to type is probably the bottom one. It is also safer to use the AVERAGE function as that calculates how many values there are in the range you select, using =SUM(A2:A10)/9 would lead to an error if one of those cells was intentionally a blank row as you may only have 8 actual values in that range.

You can also start a formula by clicking the = symbol to the left of the white formula bar box to start the formula wizard.

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