How do you write simple formulas in a spreadsheet?

Spreadsheets are fantastic tools for managing and analyzing data, and formulas are the key to unlocking their true potential. I’ll explain everything with real-world business examples and illustrations to make it easier for you. Let’s dive right in! 

Basic math operations: In a spreadsheet, you can perform basic math operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

  • Addition: =A1+B1 Imagine you have two columns with sales data from two different stores. You want to find the total sales for both stores. In this case, if Store A’s sales are in cell A1 and Store B’s sales are in cell B1, you can write the formula =A1+B1 in a third cell to find the total sales.
  • Subtraction: =A2-B2 Suppose you have a list of expenses and incomes and want to find the net income. In this case, you can use subtraction. If cell A2 has your total income and cell B2 has your total expenses, you can write the formula =A2-B2 to find the net income.
  • Multiplication: =A3*B3 If you need to calculate the total cost of items sold, where cell A3 has the number of items sold and cell B3 has the price per item, you can use the formula =A3*B3.
  • Division: =A4/B4 To find the average sales per day, you can divide the total sales (cell A4) by the number of days (cell B4) using the formula =A4/B4.


Functions: Spreadsheets have built-in functions that can help you perform more complex calculations. Some common functions are:

  • SUM: =SUM(A1:A10) If you have a column of sales data (A1 to A10) and you want to find the total sales, you can use the SUM function. Just type =SUM(A1:A10), and it will add up all the values in the specified range.
  • AVERAGE: =AVERAGE(B1:B10) If you want to find the average value of a range of cells, you can use the AVERAGE function. For example, to find the average sales in cells B1 to B10, use the formula =AVERAGE(B1:B10).
  • MIN and MAX: =MIN(C1:C10) and =MAX(C1:C10) To find the minimum and maximum values in a range of cells, you can use the MIN and MAX functions, respectively. For instance, if you want to identify the lowest and highest sales values in cells C1 to C10, you can use the formulas =MIN(C1:C10) and =MAX(C1:C10).
  • COUNT: =COUNT(D1:D10) If you need to count the number of cells in a range that contain a value (excluding blank cells), you can use the COUNT function. For instance, to count the number of sales entries in cells D1 to D10, use the formula =COUNT(D1:D10).

Remember, practice makes perfect! The more you work with formulas, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become. Good luck, and happy spreadsheeting!