How to Create Formulas in Spreadsheets

by Foye Robinson
As you create a formula, it is displayed in the formula bar of your spreadsheet .

As you create a formula, it is displayed in the formula bar of your spreadsheet .

Creating a formula in a spreadsheet is similar to creating one on paper. You can add, subtract, multiply, divide or find an average. As you create a formula, it is displayed in the formula bar at the top of your spreadsheet. The formula bar can help you track calculations in the spreadsheet. To create formulas quickly, you can also modify an existing formula (one that's built into your application) or point to cells you want to include in a calculation.

Simple Calculations

Place your cursor in the cell where you want the results of your formula to appear.

Insert a formula that adds numbers in two different cells by using the equation: =A1+A2. In this case, replace A1 with the first cell and A2 with the second cell. To subtract the two numbers, replace the plus "+" sign with the minus "-" sign. To divide them, use the division "/" sign instead.

Press "Enter" when you are finished. The results of your calculation will be displayed in the cell, and the formula will appear in the formula bar for that cell.

Simple Multiplication

Place your cursor in the cell where you want to the formula for your multiplication to appear. To create a formula that multiplies the contents of different cells, use the equation: =A1*A3*A5*A7

Replace the cells: "A1," "A3," "A5" and "A7" with the actual cells you want to multiply. Include as many cells as you want. Alternatively, you can click each cell you want to multiply. To do this, type the equal sign and click the first cell. Then type an asterisk, click the next cell, and type another asterisk. Continue this pattern until each cell is included.

Press "Enter" when you are finished. The results of your multiplication will appear in the cell.

Adding a Group of Cells

Go to the cell where the results will be displayed. To create a formula that adds a range of cells in a column or row, use the equation: =SUM(A1:A20)

Replace "A1" with the first cell in the range and "A20" with the last cell in the range. Alternatively, you can create the formula by typing the equal sign and then selecting the range of cells with your mouse. The cells included in the calculation will be selected.

Press the "Enter" key to view the results.

Combining Formulas

Place your cursor in the cell where the results will be displayed. Then create a formula that adds a range of values, subtracts "10" from the total, and divides the result by "12." The equation would be: =(SUM(A1:A20)-10)/12

Replace "A1" and "A20" with the range of cells you're adding. (You can select the cells with your mouse instead).

Press "Enter" to see the result.

About the Author

Foye Robinson is a freelance writer and Web designer with Precision Web Crafting. She shares her love for family/relationships, fitness and Web design in her writing. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Webster University and also writes miscellaneous articles and novels.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Calculator image by Alhazm Salemi from Fotolia.com