How to Write Formulas in Excel

Are you looking to learn how to write Excel formulas? Formulas are the backbone of Excel and allow you to perform calculations, manipulate data, and automate repetitive tasks. This post will guide you through the basics of writing Excel formulas and provide examples to help you get started.



Welcome to a tutorial on how to write formulas in Microsoft Excel. In this short post, we’ll discuss how to write Excel formulas using values, operators, ranges, functions, and more. Let’s get started!

Exercise 1: Values and Operators

Excel formulas begin with an equal sign. Then we can include various components that help Excel compute the desired result.

For example, we can include a value. This could be a numeric value like 100, or a text value enclosed in quotes like “hello world.”

We can also include operators. Excel has several different types of operators, including the four basic math operators: plus, minus, divide, and multiply.

For example, we can write 100 + 200, 200 – 100, 100 / 2, or 100 * 5 to perform addition, subtraction, division, or multiplication, respectively.

Now, let’s explore ways to improve our formulas.

Exercise 2: Range References

Instead of typing values (like 100) directly into our formulas, it’s often easier to type the values into cells and then reference those cells in the formula.

For an individual cell’s reference, we use a combination of the column letter and row number. For instance, C6 refers to the cell at the intersection of column C and row 6.

For a range of cells, we specify the top left cell in the range, the range operator (:), and the lower right cell in the range. For example, A1:B10 refers to the range of cells that are selected if you click cell A1 and then drag through B10.

By using these types of references, we can avoid editing the formula every time we need to change a value. For example, instead of typing 100 + 200, we can type =C6+C7, assuming that we’ve placed the values 100 and 200 in cells C6 and C7, respectively. That way, it is easy to change the computation … we can simply type our updated values into the cells rather than needing to go and update our formula.

Exercise 3: Functions

In addition to values, operators, and range references, we can also use functions in our formulas.

A function performs a specific calculation, such as summing up a range of numbers. To use a function, we begin by typing the function name followed by an opening parenthesis. We then add any arguments inside the parentheses. Finally, we close the function by typing a closing parenthesis.

For example, we can sum up a range of values using the SUM function: =SUM(C6:C15). This formula will add up all the values in cells C6 through C15.

Excel includes 500+ functions, so, you’ll want to explore them. You can easily browse through Excel functions by category by heading to the Formulas tab. There, you will see the Function Library commands, and you can browse by category such as Financial, Logical, Text, and so on.


That’s it! Now you know the basics for writing Excel formulas with values, operators, range references, and functions. Happy calculating!

If you have any other tips or suggestions, please share by writing a comment below … thanks!

Sample file

Jeff Lenning

I love sharing the things I've learned about Excel, and I built Excel University to help me do that. My motto is: Learn Excel. Work Faster.

Excel is not what it used to be.

You need the Excel Proficiency Roadmap now. Includes 6 steps for a successful journey, 3 things to avoid, and weekly Excel tips.

Want to learn Excel?

Our training programs start at $29 and will help you learn Excel quickly.


  1. Christopher Fennell on May 11, 2023 at 12:09 pm

    Great post Jeff.

    Very helpful. I just shared this with a new client.

    Do you have anything on the Spill Array Functions I can check out?

    Be well.,


Leave a Comment