Table of Contents### Understanding Basic Formula Concepts

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This chapter is about building your own mathematical formulas to calculate the data on a worksheet. Formulas, and the capability to build and edit them easily, are why you would want to use an electronic spreadsheet for storing and analyzing numeric data. Even if you're a mathematical genius, allowing Excel to do your calculations saves time, reduces the margin for error, and makes updating the results fast and easy. In addition, because numbers are stored in cells and you can refer to those cells in your formulas, the process of updating formulas with current data is automatic.

In Excel, you can write formulas from scratch or use a variety of automated features that write formulas for you. In this chapter, the focus will be on writing your own formulas to perform basic mathematical calculations in a worksheet; in Chapter 11, you'll use what you've learned about formula construction to write complex formulas that use functions (page 265)to perform more intricate calculations.