# Excel Formulas: Beginner’s Guide

We are going to tell you everything about Excel formulas . First of all, we give you some indications on how they are used, what they are for and how to know what the specific functions of each one are. Then, we include a list with the main formulas that you need to know to create useful spreadsheets in your day-to-day life or at work.

Index of contents

• What is an Excel formula and what are they for?
• How are Excel formulas used?
• How to create an Excel formula step by step
• Formulas inside another formula
• Excel formulas you should know

What is an Excel formula and what are they for?

An  Excel formula  is a tool for performing calculations and implementing advanced functionality within a spreadsheet. Each of the Excel formulas fulfills a specific objective and will help you carry out a specific task.

Therefore, we cannot say that Excel formulas are used for something in particular, but rather that, depending on which one you add to the cells, one action or another is launched. And don’t just think about basic math operations. Yes, it is true that the best-known formulas are for adding, dividing or averaging.

But there are also those that introduce variables or conditionals. With them, we can say that  Excel spreadsheets  are very close to programming. In fact, thanks to formulas it is possible to turn an XLSX file into a powerful accounting or statistics application.

How are Excel formulas used?

Excel formulas are entered into the cells of a spreadsheet. I eat? The first thing you should do is write the  symbol = . The app will know that you want to add a formula to the cell and will start making suggestions as you type letters. This helps you find the one you need by name.

It is necessary to emphasize that in Microsoft Excel, as it happens with the  keyboard shortcuts ,  it translates the formulas into Spanish . Therefore, if you try to locate one of them and you have set this language in the Office package as the default, the formulas will appear in Spanish.

The following image serves as an example. After typing the = symbol, we add the  letters SU to find the SUM  formula  .

Quickly, in the list of suggestions, all the formulas that begin with SU appear, one of which is SUM.

How to create an Excel formula step by step

Continuing with the example, let’s learn a little about how to create Excel formulas. When it comes to mathematical operations, such as adding two values, the application offers two possibilities:

• With values. In a formula it is possible to add numerical values ​​(or alphanumeric, depending on the case). For example, if you use the formula =SUM(10, 10), the result will be 20. However, you will always get the same result because you have not entered variables.
• With variables. Variables are found in the contents of a cell. For example, you can write the formula =SUM(10, B1). In that case, the value of cell B1 will always be added 10. It is just what can be seen in the image below.

In formulas with variables, the cell contents vary depending on what is typed in the cells linked to the formulas. Without going any further, this helps you generate invoices, numerical counts and more. The following screenshot shows a simple example of an invoice or estimate.

If at any time any of the prices change, the total will automatically update.

Formulas inside another formula

Formulas can be combined with each other. Excel has a formula called IF, which runs another formula only if a certain condition is met.

Imagine that in the previous invoice you want to apply an automatic discount if the total amount exceeds 1000 euros. So, we apply the following formula:

• =IF(E6>1000;SUM(E6-200); “No discount”)

The condition is set within the IF formula, and then we add a nested sum function that subtracts \$200 whenever the value exceeds \$1,000. Otherwise, we establish that the cell displays the message “There is no discount”. The result is this:

Don’t forget that the syntax of each formula appears as you type it. Also, Excel displays a brief explanation when you select a formula from the list.

Excel formulas you should know

Below, we offer you a list of the most used functions or formulas in Excel and we explain what they are for.

• SUM formula. It allows you to add two values, either by typing them manually or with variables entered in other cells.
• CONCATENATE formula. Concatenates two values, such as the text in two different cells. If the name Pedro appears in one cell and the last name Lozano appears in another, the result will be PerdroLozano.
• Formula VLOOKUP. Allows you to search for values ​​in a data array. The letter V means vertical, because the search is done by rows taking a column as a reference.
• Formula SUMIF. Adds two values ​​if a specified condition is true.
• Formula COUNTIF. It takes care of counting cells in a range if a condition is met.
• Formula TODAY. Returns the current date.
• EXTRACT formula. Extracts the characters from a cell indicating the starting position and the number of characters to be extracted.
• IF formula. As we have seen, it allows you to create conditions to execute other functions or display specific content in a cell.
• Formula TEXT. Converts a value to text. Includes the ability to add number formats (for example, currencies).
• COUNT formula. Counts the number of cells that contain some value and expresses the total. Skips those cells that are empty.

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##### byAbdullah Sam
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