Chapter 3: Formula Tricks and Techniques

IN THIS CHAPTER

• Getting an overview of Excel formulas

• Differentiating between absolute and relative references in formulas

• Understanding and using names

• Introducing array formulas

• Counting and summing cells

• Working with dates and times

• Creating megaformulas

About Formulas

Virtually every successful spreadsheet application uses formulas. In fact, constructing formulas can certainly be construed as a type of programming.

For a much more comprehensive treatment of Excel formulas and functions, refer to my book, Excel 2010 Formulas (Wiley).

Formulas, of course, are what make a spreadsheet a spreadsheet. If it weren't for formulas, your worksheet would just be a static document — something that a word processor that has great support for tables could produce.

A formula entered into a cell can consist of any of the following elements:

• Operators such as + (for addition) and * (for multiplication)

• Cell references (including named cells and ranges)

• Numbers or text strings

• Worksheet functions (such as SUM or AVERAGE)

A formula in Excel 2010 can consist of up to 8,192 characters. After you enter a formula into a cell, the cell displays the result of the formula. The formula itself appears in the formula bar when the cell is activated. For a better view of a lengthy formula, click and drag the thick border of the formula bar to ...