# How to create an excel formula

Written by ehow contributor
• Share
• Tweet
• Share
• Email

One of the most important spreadsheet functions is using formulas to calculate values in cells (so one cell can be defined, say, as the sum of two others minus a third cell). When the values that make up a formula change, the cell that contains the formula's total value is automatically recalculated. These steps work for Microsoft Excel 97.

Skill level:
Moderate

### Things you need

• Excel Book
• Microsoft Excel

## Instructions

1. 1

Start Microsoft Excel and open the file you want to change.

2. 2

Double-click on the cell where you want the total to appear.

3. 3

Press the = key on the keyboard. This tells Excel that you are entering a formula into the cell.

4. 4

Enter the formula, then press Enter. Follow the steps below for an example.

5. 5

Enter an opening parenthesis character: (.

6. 6

Enter a cell name. For example: =(E2.

7. 7

Press the + key.

8. 8

Enter another cell name and a closing parenthesis character: ). For example: =(E2+E3).

9. 9

Enter a minus sign and a third cell name. For example: =(E2+E3)-E4.

10. 10

Press the Enter key to accept the formula. The cell will display the sum of the first two cells minus the third cell.

#### Tips and warnings

• Formulas are just equations. Instead of adding or subtracting numbers you are adding and subtracting the contents of a cell.
• Excel includes a number of predefined functions to use as well. You can combine the predefined functions into your own formula. (See "How to Use Provided Excel Formulas.")

### Don't Miss

• All types
• Articles
• Slideshows
• Videos
##### Sort:
• Most relevant
• Most popular
• Most recent