Want to get a handle on formulas, cell references, and more? Are you a visual learner? Let ExcelIsFun walk you through progressively more advanced examples. You can even download his workbook so you can follow along.
ExcelIsFun has created a series of videos on Excel and posted them to YouTube. The videos linked below provide a good introduction to formulas, but there are many more videos in the series available on his YouTube channel.
In this article
Formulas with Cell References
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 3: Formulas with Cell References shows you how to include a simple cell reference in a formula.
This opens up a wide variety of possibilities that aren’t possible when you use a formula that contains only hard-coded values. For example, the formula =27.92/7 will always produce the same result (3.98857142…). But the result of =A1/B1 depends on the values in cell A1 and B1.
Formulas and functions
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 4: Formulas and Functions introduces the use of functions in formulas. A function is a built-in formula that is commonly used, such as COS (returns the cosine of a value) or MIN (returns the least value from a set of values).
By using functions in formulas, you can perform more advanced calculations with less work than if you built the whole formula manually. You can also be sure that the function is always calculated the same way.
Formulas Operators and Math
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 5: Formula Operators and Math shows you how to perform math in formulas. Most of the operators should be familiar, but some may be slightly different from what you learned in Algebra class.
Named Cell Ranges and Functions
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 6: Names Cell Ranges and Functions demonstrates the use of names – labels that you assign to ranges of cells. This can be very convenient, because it lets you associate a word with a set of values, making it easier to read the formula and understand what it is doing.
For example, if you have a set of cells that has quarterly sales totals for 2010, you might name that range 2010QuarterlySales. To return the highest quarterly sales total, you might then use the formula =MAX(2010QuarterlySales) – much easier to understand than, say, =MAX(A17:A20).
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 7: Range Functions shows how to use range functions rather than explicitly referencing each cell in the range. Range functions allow the formula to adapt if new cells are inserted.
Cell References Relative & Absolute
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 8: Cell References Relative and Absolute demonstrates the difference between absolute and relative cell references. When you copy or move a formula, the cell references determine what the formula will look like in the new cell.
Mixed Cell References in Formulas
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 9: Mixed Cell References shows you the power of mixed cell references – a combination of absolute and relative cell references.
Formulas: Copy Vs. Cut
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 10: Formulas - Copy vs. Cut highlights the difference in Excel’s paste behavior when you copy a formula versus when you cut a formula. (Hint: it has to do with cell references.)
Spreadsheet Setup & Cell References
Excel Is Fun Basics Lesson 11: Spreadsheet Setup & Cell References offers tips for controlling your workbook using options to make working with your formulas easier and more efficient.