Excel: Formulas aren’t hard, no matter what your math teacher told you

I use Excel to do math for me a lot. I mean,¬†if I am adding any more than three numbers together, I plop those jammies in a spreadsheet and AutoSum. It isn’t that we aren’t all fully capable of adding numbers together, whether its with a calculator or the ancient pen and pad of paper, but if my brain power doesn’t have to take a break from my current task to add, I stay quite a bit more focused.

Excel formulas can be very basic or can be¬†extremely complicated. Excel has some good guides for those more complex formulas. Once we get you started on the basics, I’m sure you’ll be hooked and finding all kinds of amazing ways to use the multitudes of formulas at your fingertips!


This is all you need!

The absolute most important part of executing an Excel formula is starting it. It’s all about the equals sign. Typing the equals sign tells Excel that the cell you enter information in should be doing some kind of operation. The rest will be determined after the equals sign, but no formula will work without the equals sign.

Once the equals sign is there, the rest of the formula can just be typed in. So typing ‘=2+2’ will make the cell output a ‘4’. Of course, this is not where Excel is most useful. What is useful is having the formula point to a different Excel cell for the numbers to add together. This is easily accomplished, instead of typing the numbers, click on the cell that contains the number you want to be added. (You can also type the cell coordinates, and then it feels kind of like playing Battleship – and A1 to B3 – Boom!)


Just imagine playing battleship and everything is far more entertaining.

So, here is where I am adding 5 numbers together using Excel. Each cell is added individually to the total. This is great because I can see the numbers being added, which reduces errors for me and allows me to make adjustments and changes to the individual numbers, which will be reflected in real time in the total.


Excel makes things in pretty colors, mostly because it is easier to read, but also more interesting.

This is fantastic and can work with adding, subtracting, multiplying, really any mathematical function you would need. Seriously, here is a link to the Microsoft Office list of Excel Functions – Formulas in Excel. Once of the most common is the SUM function. It basically adds all of the cells in a range together or list. The formula looks like this =SUM(B1:B5)


To add items as a list instead of a range, separate the cell coordinates by commas.

This SUM function is so popular it has it’s own button, it looks like this –


Once click of the button and the program will select a range of cells above the cell selected. So go forth and do all the math – or let Excel do the math for you.

Casey Love

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