Excel How-to: Simple math

excel logoOK, the real beauty of any spreadsheet is in its ability to perform calculations. In Excel you tell it you want it to calculate something by inserting an equal sign (=) at the beginning of what you want calculated. So, you start by selecting a cell:

 

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then enter an = sign. You can either enter it in the cell itself, or you can enter it into the formula bar. If you enter it into the formula bar you'll see it reflected in the cell you selected, and if you enter it in the cell you'll see it in the formula bar:

 

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now enter in what you want to do, lets say something easy to start:

 

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now hit enter.

 

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Ah, almost like magic, eh? Now, lets take it to the next step. Instead of entering the numbers and the formula in a single cell, lets enter the value of two cells into a third. So, lets try this by entering a 2 in cell A2, and another 2 in cell B2. If the cell numbering isn't familiar to you look here first. Now, instead of entering =2+2 in the cell, select cell C2 and enter the forumula =A2+B2, like so:

 

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now hit enter.

 

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OK, so why is this useful? Lets say we change our minds, and instead of adding 2+2 we need to do something a little more complicated:

 

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Just type in any values you would like to add into cells A2 and B2, and the result will immediately be revealed in cell C2.

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