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In this video tutorial, Bob Flisser demonstrates how to use the most common formula, Sum, to add data in any number of cells, rows, and columns. Many Excel commentators, myself included, tend to use the terms function and formula as if they meant the same thing. A formula is a statement you enter into an Excel worksheet cell in your spreadsheet that calculates a value.
As an example, you can click a cell on your worksheet, type = 1+2, press Enter, and get the result of 3. Let’s say I have values in cells B3 and B4, which represent revenue for the years 2009 and 2010.
A worksheet cell displays the formula’s result, but if you click the cell and look at the Formula Bar, which is just above the regular worksheet grid, you can see the text of the formula. Now, let’s say that you want to perform a slightly more advanced calculation such as finding the average of the two values in cells B3 and B4. The problem with this approach is that it takes a long time to type in those formulas and it’s really only practical to create formulas by hand from very simple mathematical operations.
An Excel function is a built-in set of steps or algorithms that Excel can follow to find a result. After you enter the cell references, you can type the right parenthesis and press Enter to end the function and you get the result.
There are three main ways to create a formula in Excel: by typing, by using the controls on the Formula tab of the Ribbon User Interface, and by using the Insert Function dialog box. We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go Review and accept our updated terms of service. He also shows how Excel can grab the cell selections for you automatically with the AutoSum tool. If you want to find the sum of the values in those two cells, you could type =B3+B4, press Enter, and you get the result.
To find the average of the values in cells B3 and B4 for example, I could type in an equal sign and then start typing the name of the Average function and press a left parenthesis. When you’re ready to create a formula by typing, you click the cell where you want to create the formula and start typing. On the Formulas page of the Excel Options dialog box, you’ll see in the Working with formula section a checkbox for Formula AutoComplete. When you do that, Excel knows that it is to treat the rest of the text you type into the cell as part of the formula.
What this does is add the two values in B3 and B4 and then divides it by 2, which is the number of values.
Just as before, typing in an equal sign indicates to Excel that it’s to treat the remainder of the text in the cell as a formula as opposed to a number or text value.
If this check box is cleared, you should check it and then click OK to turn Formula AutoComplete on. AutoComplete will display a list of functions that start with any letters that you start to type.
For example, if you start typing the word average, Excel displays a list of functions that start with the letters just typed.

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