Excel performs calculations on numbers; that's why you use Excel. If you make changes to the numbers, Excel automatically recalculates. This is one of the most powerful and valuable features of Excel. You can arrange data in a format of columns and rows in other application programsin a word processing program, for exampleand even perform simple calculations. Excel, however, performs complex calculations on numbers.
Recall that a cell contains either a value or a formula. A formula is an equation that directs Excel to perform mathematical calculations on values in other cells, and to place the result in the cell containing the formula. You can construct your own formulas, or you can use one of Excel's prebuilt formulas called a function.
Activity 1.9. Constructing a Formula and Using the Sum Function
In this activity, you will sum the monthly purchases for tableware at the restaurant in Dallas.
1. 
Click cell B8 to make it the active cell and press . Compare your screen with Figure 1.41. Figure 1.41. The equal sign (=) displays in the cell with the insertion point blinking, ready to accept more data. All formulas begin with the = sign, which is the signal that directs Excel to begin a calculation. The Formula Bar displays the = sign, and the Formula Bar Cancel and Enter buttons display. 


2. 
At the insertion point, type b3 and then compare your screen with Figure 1.42. Figure 1.42. You can use uppercase or lowercase letters in a cell reference. Cell B3 is surrounded by a blue border with small corner boxes. This indicates that the cell is part of an active formula. The color used in the box matches the color of the cell reference in the formula. 
3. 
At the insertion point, press () and then type b4 Alternatively, use the key on your numeric keypad, which does not require the key. 
4. 
At the insertion point, type +b5+b6+b7 and then press . 
5. 
Click cell B8 again to make it the active cell and look at the Formula Bar. Compare your screen with Figure 1.43. Figure 1.43. (This item is displayed on page 622 in the print version) You created a formula that adds the values in cells B3 through B7, and the result of adding the values in those cells displays in cell B8. Although cell B8 displays the result of the formula, the formula itself is displayed in the Formula Bar. This is referred to as the underlying formula. Always view the Formula Bar to be sure of the exact content of a cella displayed number might actually be a formula. 


6. 
In cell C8, type = to signal the beginning of a formula. Then, point to cell C3, click once, and compare your screen with Figure 1.44. Figure 1.44. The reference to the cell, C3, is added to the active formula. A moving border surrounds the cell referred to, and the border color and the color of the cell reference in the formula are color coded to match. 
7. 
At the insertion point, press the key and then click C4. Repeat this process to complete the formula to add cells C3 through C7 and then press . 
8. 
Select cell D8. On the Standard toolbar, click the AutoSum button , and then compare your screen with Figure 1.45. Figure 1.45. AutoSum is an Excel functiona predefined formula. Cells D3:D7 are surrounded by a moving border, and =SUM(D3:D7) displays in cell D8. The = sign signals the beginning of a formula, SUM indicates the type of calculation that will take place (addition), and (D3:D7) indicates the range of cells on which the sum operation will be performed. A ScreenTip provides additional information about the action. 
9. 
Look at the Formula Bar, and notice that the formula also displays there. Then, look again at the cells surrounded by the moving border. 
10. 
Press . The sum of Tableware Purchases for March1000.06displays in cell D8. 
11. 
Select the range E3:G8 and then compare your screen with Figure 1.46. Figure 1.46. (This item is displayed on page 624 in the print version) By selecting a range of cells and including the empty cells at the bottom of each column, you can apply the AutoSum function to sum several columns at once; the formula for adding each column will be placed in the empty cells at the bottom of each column. 


12. 
On the Standard toolbar, click the AutoSum button . 
13. 
Click cell E8 and notice the formula in the Formula Bar. Click cell F8 and G8 to see the formula in the Formula Bar. 
14. 
On the Standard toolbar, click the Save button to save the changes you have made to your workbook. 
[Page 624 (continued)] Objective 5 Format Data and Cells 