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Basic calculations in Excel your boss expects you to know

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MDAS stands for multiplication, division, addition and subtraction. These operations, aside from counting numbers, are the basic skills taught in our Math subject. However, not all people are good on it. But working with Excel can make your life a lot easier.

Excel’s interface is designed for using formulas for basic computations and functions for more complex ones. By plotting the formulas, you will just input the data and presto, you’ll be shown of all the results that you need based on the formula you created. Although MDAS are some sort of an easy task, using Excel will make this easier and faster.

The symbols used by Excel in making simple calculations are:

  • Multiplication (*)
  • Division (/)
  • Addition (+)
  • Subtraction (-)

The structure of the formula always follow the same format. All formulas in Excel start with an equal sign. Next is the first cell reference. Then, the mathematical symbol. Lastly, the second cell reference.


Creating a Formula for MDAS

  1. Click on the cell where you want the answer to show.
  2. Type in the equal (=) sign.
  3. Click on the first cell reference or the first cell involved in your calculation.
  4. Type the math symbol you want to use (*, /, +, or -).
  5. Click on the second cell reference or the next cell involved in your calculation.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 if you need to add more cells to your formula. (Use of parenthesis can be helpful also.)
  7. When you are done, press “Enter”.
  8. The cell will then show the result of the formula.

Editing Formula in a Cell

Below, you can see an image that shows a formula at column D, row 4. How is it done? Just follow the steps enumerated:

When you select the cell containing a formula, the cell does not reveal the formula, instead the results are shown. If you want to make changes on the formula you created, you can do one of the following:

  1. Double click on the cell and the formula will be revealed, so you can edit it.
  2. Select the cell and edit its content on the formula bar, then hit “Enter”.

Copying Formula Using Autofill

Manually entering the formula can be tiresome, especially when they are the same all throughout your data table. Copying formula in Excel is very quick and easy when using the “Autofill” option. How to do that? Refer to the steps below.

  1. Create the first formula.
  2. Select the cell with formula and hover your cursor over the bottom right hand corner. Stop when you see a black cross (1).
  3. Click and drag the cross in the direction of the cells you want to auto fill. The formula will be copied down and the results will appear in the cells.

Making these simple formulas in Excel is easy. It does not only save you from lots of stress computing for the result of each cell, but also saves your time in doing so.

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