CHAPTER 11: Working with Formulas and Functions

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Create and Use Custom Lists

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You can use the paste process to copy any cell s content to adjoining cells or to create a list of consecutive items, such as days of the week, months of the year, or numeric patterns If you want to repeat a name, number, or even fill in a series, all you need to do is drag the first cell through the adjoining cells Excel will fill in the cells you drag through based on what was in the starting cell Excel s custom lists can be pasted and filled in by typing the first (or any) item in the list View the complete list of automatic custom lists and create your own by choosing Tools | Options and clicking the Custom Lists tab To create a list of numbers following a pattern, establish the pattern in the first two cells and then select them both before pasting from the lower-right corner of the second cell the cells to which you paste the content will perpetuate the pattern you established

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Pasting works for any calculation, not just AutoSum To paste a function, click in the cell that contains the formula you want to use in the adjoining cells When the cell containing the formula is active, point to the lower-right corner of the cell (look for the small black box in the corner) Your mouse turns to a black cross, and at that point you can drag your mouse through the adjoining cells, as shown here When you ve dragged through all the cells that should contain the formula, release your mouse, and the formulas are pasted The results appear in the cells to which the formula was pasted

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Of course, you might be thinking that Excel is going to copy the formula from the first column or row to all the other columns or rows and you ll somehow have to update those copied versions to sum the columns or rows where they now appear Wrong! Thanks to a concept called relative addressing, the formulas will update themselves to sum the cells relative to their new

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position A formula that summed numbers in column A will now sum numbers in column B, C, and so forth As you can see in the Formula Bar shown next, the AutoSum that was pasted from column B is now summing cells in column C, automatically

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Creating Simple Formulas from Scratch

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Imagine you want to take the sales total for a given sales rep and compare it to another rep s total, or maybe you need to show the total expenses for a department as a percentage of the company s total expenses How would you do that If you know how to do it on a calculator, you can do it in Excel Building formulas is very simple, assuming you stick to the rules: Place the formula in a cell on its own, start it with an equal sign, and press ENTER at the end to confirm the formula and perform the calculation The other thing to remember is that Excel uses four simple operators for the main mathematical operations it performs:

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+ (plus sign) (minus sign) * (asterisk) / (slash) Addition Subtraction Multiplication Division

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If the numbers you want to calculate are in the worksheet, refer to them by their cell addresses Also, try to get into the habit of using your mouse to click cells that you want to include in the formula rather than typing the addresses on the keyboard It will save you time and reduce the margin for error, and you can construct formulas more logically, building them cell by cell, the way you think about the calculation that you re setting up For example, if you want to take one division s first quarter sales (in cell B6) and figure out what percentage of the entire company s sales they represent (the total sales for all the divisions for Q1 is in B13), you would type =, then click in cell B6, type / (to divide), and then click in cell B13 The formula =B6/B13 is created, but you were able to build it by thinking Divide Philadelphia s sales by the total of all the divisions sales to see what portion of the total its sales represent