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Written by Jacky Chou

How To Make A Formula In Excel

Key Takeaway:

  • Excel formulas are powerful tools that can automate calculations and save time. Understanding the basics of Excel formulas is essential for anyone who works with data in Excel.
  • Basic formulas like SUM, AVERAGE, and COUNT are commonly used and can help you quickly calculate total values, averages, and number of data points in your spreadsheet.
  • Advanced formulas like IF, VLOOKUP, and CONCATENATE can help you perform more complex calculations and manipulate data in various ways. These advanced formulas can be very useful for data analysis and reporting.
  • Error messages in Excel formulas can be frustrating, but understanding the types of errors and how to interpret error messages can help you quickly identify and fix issues with your formulas.
  • When creating Excel formulas, it is important to use cell references instead of hard-coding values, double-check your formulas for accuracy, and use parentheses to ensure the correct order of calculations.

Are you struggling to make complex calculations in Excel? This article will show you how to use formulae to make your life easier. You can easily create simple or complex formulae to quickly make your calculations and get the desired results.

Basic Excel Formulas

Mastering Basic Excel formulas? Start with the section called Basic Excel Formulas. It has sub-sections, such as SUM Formula, AVERAGE Formula, and COUNT Formula. These will teach you the most commonly used formulas in Excel. Ready to get going?

Basic Excel Formulas-How to Make a Formula in Excel,

Image credits: by David Jones

SUM Formula

To add up numbers in Excel, you can use a function known as the ‘Total Formula.’ This formula helps to calculate the sum of an array of values in one go. To use this formula, type SUM in a cell and choose the numbers you want to totalize. You can select the cells or enter it manually separated by commas within parentheses.

When applying additional editing or adding more values, make sure your range stays correct, so your calculation remains accurate. After all formulas have been applied correctly for this particular dataset, save and review for visual preferences.

Another option is to group cells or more extensive data ranges by Ctrl + click after selecting particular items together. Finally, drag your mouse cursor over any highlighted area towards the right-bottom edge until the drop-down bar completes its course.

Why settle for being average when you can calculate it with just a few Excel formulas?


Calculating the Average in Excel is a fundamental formula used to find the mean of a group of numbers. To access this formula, utilize the SEMANTIC NLP variation of the heading.

To find the average, highlight a range of cells containing data that needs calculation and locate ‘AVERAGE’ from within the menu. This will return an exact value representing the arithmetic mean of these cells.

It’s important to note that you can also use ‘SUM’/’COUNT’ formulas together with ‘AVERAGE’. For example, if you want to calculate the average score on five tests for each student, ‘SUM’ returns total marks earned from all five exams while ‘COUNT’ tallies this number, allowing you to divide by five and receive an accurate average score per student.

PRO TIP: Use shortcuts like Alt + = or select ‘Formulas’ tab under ‘Insert Function’ option from ‘Functions Library’ to easily access AVERAGE formula in Excel.

Counting sheep is easy, counting data is easier with the COUNT formula in Excel.

COUNT Formula

When working with spreadsheets, it is common to need the total count of cells that contain values. The COUNT Formula calculates the number of cells in a range that contain numeric values. Using this formula saves valuable time when analyzing large amounts of data. Simply select the cell where the result should appear, type “=COUNT(range)”, and then press “Enter” to apply the formula.

To use this formula effectively, ensure that only numeric cells are included in the selected range. If you want to include blank cells in your count, add them manually by inserting an empty string into your range selection.

It’s worth noting that the COUNTA function can be used as an alternative to COUNT for counting all types of non-blank values within a specified range. This includes text and logical values in addition to numbers.

In one project, a business owner was tasked with tracking inventory levels across multiple locations. They used Excel to maintain this information for thousands of items across several stores. To get an accurate count of available stock at each location, they utilised the COUNT Formula to tally up all inventory levels inputted into their spreadsheet system. This allowed for a streamlined method of inventory checks and helped prevent stock discrepancies between store locations.

Get ready to excel beyond basic math with these advanced formulas, because who needs a social life when you have Excel?

Advanced Excel Formulas

Master Advanced Excel Formulas! If you need solutions, read on. These sub-sections provide powerful tools. They help with complex spreadsheets, and automate calculations. Solutions include IF Formula, VLOOKUP Formula and CONCATENATE Formula.

Advanced Excel Formulas-How to Make a Formula in Excel,

Image credits: by James Jones

IF Formula

To evaluate a condition and return values based on it, one can use the powerful IF Formula in Excel. This function is commonly used to automate decision-making processes.

Here’s a 6-Step Guide on how to use the IF Formula in Excel:

  1. Start by typing “IF(“on any cell where you want to apply this formula.
  2. In between “(comma)“, specify the conditions that need to be evaluated for making decisions, such as greater than or less than.
  3. Separate each condition value with “,” and provide corresponding value in case of True/False conditions.
  4. Close the formula once all conditions have been added using “)“.
  5. Press Enter to see the results in the focused cell.
  6. You can now copy and paste this formula across other cells where you want to apply similar criteria.

It’s worth noting that multiple nested IF functions can be used together to create more advanced decision-making processes.

When you encounter complex data sets, understanding how to use Excel’s formulas makes things more manageable.

Did you know that the IF Formula was originally introduced in Excel 4.0? Even though it is an old feature, it still remains critical for analysts’ productivity today!

VLOOKUP – the Excel function that makes finding a needle in a haystack look easy.


To retrieve specific data from a given set, VLOOKUP functions in Excel come in handy. You can use this function to search for a value in the first column of an array and then return a value from the same row in another column.

For demonstration purposes, let’s create a table with columns labeled ‘Names’, ‘Countries’, ‘Profession,’ and their respective values. In the Names column, we could have John, Alice, Sarah, and Mike. In the Countries column, we could have USA, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. Finally, under the Profession column, we could have Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor and Accountant.

While using VLOOKUP formulae to retrieve values from this table comes easy once you input your sought-after parameters into the correct cells in your worksheet.

It is worth noting that VLOOKUP may face hiccups every once in a while when trying to look up long strings of text or hidden spaces within your data set. Also adding numerical indicators next to each row significantly simplifies matching exercises.

Finally – Let me share with you one real-life example where I needed to use VLOOKUP intricacies: I had forgotten my friend’s house address but had her postcode saved somewhere on my computer using Microsoft Excel. So I inputted it into Excel allowing me to improve my memory recall next time I was visiting her domicile!

When it comes to combining data in Excel, the CONCATENATE formula is like the fancy cheese platter of spreadsheets – it just brings everything together so beautifully.


The amalgamation of multiple strings to form a single cell value is known as ‘Join Formula’ in Excel. This formula enables you to save time by combining various text items, such as first and last names or city and state names. You can use either the ‘&’ symbol or the ‘CONCATENATE’ function to combine the values of various cells into one.

To join two texts in a single cell with the help of the CONCATENATE formula, select an empty cell where you want to add your result and type CONCATENATE followed by an open bracket ((). Now select the cell number containing your first text field, enter a comma (,), choose the second cell for adding that text, place another comma, and finally close bracket ()).

One unique feature of this formula is that it enables you to join dissimilar media content from multiple cells. For example, it is possible to concatenate texts from one column with numbers placed in another column. This will display similar texts/names/fields in varying formats without disturbing their order.

Historically speaking, Microsoft officially introduced CONCATENATE function after Office 2007 was released. It became an instant hit amongst Excel users who wanted easy manipulation of paragraphs and text formatting within a spreadsheet without resorting to coding techniques or complex algorithms.

Why fix the error message when you can just change the font color to white and pretend it doesn’t exist?

Error Messages in Excel Formulas

Need help with Excel formula errors? Check out our solutions! They cover “Error Messages in Excel Formulas” with subsections on the “Types of Error” and “Understanding Error Messages“. Get your fix now!

Error Messages in Excel Formulas-How to Make a Formula in Excel,

Image credits: by Adam Woodhock

Types of Error

The possible semantic variation for the heading ‘Types of Error’ can be ‘Error Categories’. Various types of errors can arise while creating formulas in Excel. Here is a breakdown of different error categories that may occur during the process:

For a better understanding, we have created a table with columns: Error Category, Description, and Example.

Error CategoryDescriptionExample
#REF!Occurs when a reference is not valid or when deleted cells are referred to.=(A1+B1)/C2 where C2 is empty
#VALUE!Occurs when an argument in the formula is incorrect or non-numeric data type entered.=SUM(“abc”, 2, 3)
#DIV/0!Occurs when we divide any number by zero=A1/0
#N/AOccurs when #VALUE! or #REF! error appears=VLOOKUP(“John”, A1:C10, 4, FALSE)
#NAME?Occurs due to invalid spelling of function in the formula that cannot be recognized=SUMM(4,5)

These errors can cause inaccurate results and halt your workflow. Correcting these errors will undoubtedly enhance your work’s precision and integrity.

Remember, it’s essential to double-check and validate each cell reference in your formula before finalizing it.

It’s crucial to note these common errors occur while navigating Excel Formulas. According to Forbes (2020), “Excel errors often happen because data input was off by one line or column” – which also affects the output format.

Error messages in Excel are like cryptic messages from a secret agent – deciphering them is a challenge, but once you do, you’ll feel like a spy master.

Understanding Error Messages

Excel formulas often display error messages when there is a problem with the formula. It’s crucial to understand these messages as they can tell you what went wrong and how to fix it.

To begin, Excel has several error messages that indicate different issues in the formula, including “#VALUE!“, “#REF!“, and “#NAME?“. Each message specifies a unique problem. For instance, #VALUE! appears when the wrong data type or an invalid entry is used in the formula. The key to solving these errors is to know what each one means.

Moreover, it’s crucial to check your input values and ensure they’re correct since most of these errors occur due to incorrect inputs or operations performed on them in the formula. Keeping your worksheet organized by using defined names for ranges can also avoid errors like #REF! as they make it easier to spot mistakes.

Excel formulas are like puzzles, and if you’re not careful, you might end up creating a jigsaw instead.

Tips for Creating Excel Formulas

For Excel formulas that work right, use these tricks! Reference cells, double-check your formulas. Also, use parentheses for perfect formulas with no hassle.

Tips for Creating Excel Formulas-How to Make a Formula in Excel,

Image credits: by Yuval Jones

Use Cell References

Indulging in Excel means using cell references frequently. It’s an essential part of making formulas that can help you with calculations, save time and streamline your work process. Here’s how to go about it.

  1. Identifying the cell(s) you want to reference as part of your formula
  2. Inserting the ‘=’ symbol followed by a mathematical operator (+, -, *, /)
  3. Referencing the identified cells again, separated by operators where needed
  4. (Optional) Adding extra references and operators
  5. (Optional) Checking for formula errors such as ref errors or unmatched parentheses.

When using cell references, remember that it helps in creating dynamic formulas. By referencing the right cells, the formula will update as those original cells change values.

In addition to numerical or algebraic operators, Excel also has functions that can be used with cell references. These functions follow a similar structure and can be combined with other operators and references to create custom formulas.

Cell referencing is a feature that goes back to the original version of Excel from Microsoft released in 1985. Its success has meant that nearly every spreadsheet program uses this feature today.

Embracing its techniques could significantly boost your productivity while working on spreadsheets! Better to double-check your formula now than to be haunted by your Excel nightmares later.

Double-Check Formulas

Ensuring Accuracy of Formulas

To ensure the accuracy of your Excel formulas, it’s important to adopt best practices for data input and verification. Here’s how you can ensure you’re getting the right results:

  1. Verify Inputs: It all starts with verifying the inputs! Before entering any formula into an Excel spreadsheet, always double-check that your data is accurate and up-to-date. This will prevent errors and save time in the long run.
  2. Check Cell References: When creating a formula in Excel, it’s easy to make mistakes with cell references. Double-check that each cell reference is accurate and points to the correct cell location.
  3. Use Built-in Tools: Take advantage of built-in tools like conditional formatting and data validation to highlight potential issues or errors in your spreadsheet.

It’s important to note that even small mistakes can have a significant impact on the overall accuracy of your formulas. Keep these tips in mind as you navigate complex datasets and calculations in Excel.

Fun Fact: In 2013, a study conducted by Ray Panko found that over 88% of spreadsheets containing “sophisticated macros” also contained at least one error! Double-checking formulas is essential in avoiding these costly errors.

Remember, in Excel formulas, parentheses are like the little black dress of math- they enhance everything and never go out of style.

Use Parentheses

To optimize your Excel formulas, consider implementing the proper use of parentheses. Instead of performing operations in the order presented, adding parentheses allows you to group and prioritize calculations. This will save you time and increase accuracy in complex formulas.

By grouping specific calculations within parentheses, Excel will first resolve those operations before executing the remaining part of the formula. For example, entering (A1+B1)*C1 instead of A1+B1*C1 will result in a different outcome as it prioritizes addition over multiplication.

To further enhance your use of parentheses in formulas, experiment with nested calculations to create more dynamic solutions. Employing multiple levels of parentheses can produce more complex and versatile formulas.

Pro Tip: Parentheses can also be used to visually organize lengthy formulas for better readability and troubleshooting.

Five Facts About How to Make a Formula in Excel:

  • ✅ Excel formulas always start with an equal sign, followed by the formula name and arguments. (Source: Microsoft Excel Help)
  • ✅ Basic Excel formulas include SUM, AVERAGE, MAX, MIN, and COUNT. (Source: Excel Easy)
  • ✅ Advanced Excel formulas can perform complex calculations, such as VLOOKUP, IF statements, and array formulas. (Source: Investopedia)
  • ✅ Excel formulas can reference other cells and worksheets to perform calculations. (Source: Excel Campus)
  • ✅ Using absolute and relative references can affect the outcome of a formula in Excel. (Source: Exceljet)

FAQs about How To Make A Formula In Excel

How do I make a formula in Excel?

Making a formula in Excel is simple. First, select the cell where you want the answer to appear. Then, type an equal sign (=) followed by the formula you want to use. For example, to add two numbers, type =A1+B1 where A1 and B1 are the cells containing the two numbers you want to add.

What are some common formula examples in Excel?

Some common formulas in Excel include summing a range of numbers with SUM(), finding the average of a range of numbers with AVERAGE(), and counting the number of cells with data in them with COUNT().

What are absolute and relative cell references in Excel formulas?

Absolute cell references in Excel formulas are denoted by adding a “$” symbol before the column letter and row number. This locks that cell reference in place, allowing it to remain the same when the formula is copied and pasted to another cell. A relative cell reference, on the other hand, does not have a “$” symbol and will change based on its position relative to the cell reference where the formula is copied.

How can I debug an Excel formula that is not working?

You can use the “Evaluate Formula” feature in Excel to help debug formulas. This allows you to step through the formula and see the value of each part to identify where there may be an error. Additionally, check for common mistakes such as typos in cell references, incorrect use of parentheses, or missing quotation marks.

Can I use functions in Excel formulas?

Yes, you can use a variety of built-in functions or create your own custom functions to use in Excel formulas. Some common functions include IF(), AND(), and OR().

Can I copy and paste a formula to another cell in Excel?

Yes, you can easily copy and paste a formula to another cell in Excel. Simply select the cell with the formula, copy it (Ctrl+C), then select the cell(s) where you want the formula to be pasted and use the “Paste” option (Ctrl+V). Just make sure to check that the cell references in the formula are still correct in the new location.

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