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Part 3: Part 3: Microsoft Excel > Entering Calculations

Chapter 11. Entering Calculations

Calculations are the way Excel "does the math." Even if you're only using Excel to keep a list, you may have a column of numbers in the list on which you would like to do some math (for example, adding up the number of boxes of cookies sold, or calculating batting averages). This is what Excel was created to do, so it has plenty of tools to save you time and effort.

Let's say you want the sum of a column of numbers to appear in the cell just below the last number in the column. Into that cell you type a formula, rather than text or a single number. How can Excel tell the difference between text or numbers and a formula? Formulas always begin with an equal sign (=). When you've finished entering the formula and move to another cell, what you see in the cell is no longer the formula itself but the result of the calculation you've asked it to do. Don't worry—you can still change the formula if you need to.


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