Create a simple formula

 Important   The calculated results of formulas and some Excel worksheet functions may differ slightly between a Windows PC using x86 or x86-64 architecture and a Windows RT PC using ARM architecture. Learn more about the differences.

You can create a simple formula to add, subtract, multiply or divide values in your worksheet. Simple formulas always start with an equal sign (=), followed by constants (constant: A value that is not calculated. For example, the number 210 and the text "Quarterly Earnings" are constants. An expression, or a value resulting from an expression, is not a constant.) that are numeric values and calculation operators (operator: A sign or symbol that specifies the type of calculation to perform within an expression. There are mathematical, comparison, logical, and reference operators.) such as plus (+), minus (-), asterisk(*), or forward slash (/) signs.

For example, when you enter the formula =5+2*3, Excel multiplies the last two numbers and adds the first number to the result. Following the standard order of mathematical operations, multiplication is performed before addition.

  1. On the worksheet, click the cell in which you want to enter the formula.
  2. Type the = (equal sign) followed by the constants and operators that you want to use in the calculation.

You can enter as many constants and operators in a formula as you need, up to 8192 characters.

 Tip    Instead of typing the constants into your formula, you can select the cells that contain the values that you want to use and enter the operators in between selecting cells.

  1. Press Enter.



The workbook below shows examples simple formulas. You can change any of the existing formulas, or enter your own formulas to learn how they work and see their results.

To work more in-depth with the example data in Excel, download the embedded workbook to your computer, and then open it in Excel.

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Excel 2013