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Excel® 2010 Workbook for Dummies® by Greg Harvey

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Chapter 6. Building Formulas

In This Chapter

  • Constructing simple arithmetic and comparative formulas by hand

  • Creating formulas that use Excel's built-in functions

  • Editing formulas

  • Altering the order in which a formula's operands are calculated

  • Creating external reference link formulas

  • Controlling formula recalculation

No one disputes that formulas are the center of almost every spreadsheet you create. Being able to build formulas (both those that perform simple arithmetic calculations as well as those that perform more sophisticated computations using Excel's built-in functions) is a critical skill. The exercises in this chapter give you a chance to practice building both types of formulas as well as modifying how and when the formulas in the spreadsheet are recalculated.

Building Formulas

All the formulas you build in an Excel spreadsheet, regardless of their function and degree of complexity, have one thing in common: They all begin with one simple character, = (the equal-to sign).Typing an equal-to sign activates the Enter and Cancel buttons on the Formula bar. It also changes the nature of the Name Box drop-down box so that its list displays commonly-used functions rather than the range names assigned to the workbook.

If you forget to type this as your initial character when creating formulas by hand (Excel is always sure to put one in for you when you build formulas with the Insert Function button), the program inserts the string of operands and operators you enter as a text reference. ...

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