Paul Wherly

Intro to Formulas in Microsoft Excel 2010

Quick Tip for Microsoft Excel 2010

Here is an introduction to Formulas in Microsoft Excel 2010.

A Formula is the term used for a calculation in your spreadsheet.

A formula performs calculations or other actions on the data in your worksheet. A formula always starts with an equal sign (=), which can be followed by numbers, mathematical operators (such as a plus or minus sign), and functions, which can really expand the power of a formula.

For example, the following formula multiplies 2 by 3 and then adds 5 to that result to come up with the answer, 11.



  • Formulae always start with the equals sign
  • Cell references are used instead of numbers
  • A mathematical symbol is used to denote the type of calculation

Best practice: Using cell references in formulas

While this formula works, it has one drawback. If you want to change the data being calculated you need to edit or rewrite the formula.

A better way would be to write formulas so that you can change the data without having to change the formulas themselves.To do this, you need to tell Excel which cell the data is located in.

A cell’s location in the spreadsheet is referred to as its cell reference.

To find a cell reference, simply look at the column headings to find which column the cell is in, and across to find which row it is in.

The cell reference is a combination of the column letter and row number — such as A1, B3, or Z345.

When writing cell references the column letter always comes first.

So, instead of writing this formula in cell C1:

= 3 + 2

write this instead:

= A1+A2

[callout]To learn more about Formulas and to  see how we can help your organisation improve their performance with Microsoft Excel give us a call 020 8203 1774[/callout]

Shelley Fishel

Contact us

Would you like to talk through your IT Training needs?
Just send through your details and we'll get back to you.