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Excel 2003 Essential Training with Mark Swift is a movie-based workshop for users who are new to working with spreadsheets, or those wanting to improve their skills. This workshop begins with a basic overview of the application and quickly advances to cover useful formulas, functions, techniques for enhancing spreadsheets, charts, and much more. Exercise files accompany the training, allowing you to follow along and learn at your own pace.
Now we get to take our first real look at building formulas inside of Excel. Before we begin we should talk about the building blocks that we have at our disposal for making a complete statement. I've created a chart. If you look in your student folders under a folder called Extras, you'll see this sheet that I've created that outlines the mathematical operators that you have at your disposal. Within a complete formula you will have mathematical operators, a cell reference possibly, values or text, and some functions. Functions are covered in a later lesson, so we won't be talking about them too much here. The reason I built this chart, and it's made for printing so go ahead and print it off and stick it somewhere in your desk. I made it for those people who may have been out of school for a little while and not familiar with all of the operators, plus the symbols have changed a little bit from the ones that you use to write. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division; those are pretty straightforward, and they get used in a variety of applications, so you may be familiar with those. But things like concatenation, or adding exponents or any of the logical operators may be completely foreign to you. Take a look at them here and understand that at least they're at your disposal. A statement that says this is less than that, will simply produce a true or false, a yes or no. A statement that says if this is less than that, will allow you to go on and perform an action, and that's where those logical operators really come into play, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Now it's time to open up the Quarterly_Sales spreadsheet again and once again I've created a special version just for this lesson, so please don't use one of the older ones from the Recently Opened file list. Browse with me to the Student Folders, mine are on the Desktop and here in Lesson 06 Formulas Introduction, we have Quarterly_Sales, and I already have that open so I'm not going to do that. So I'll just cancel, but you can open that up if you will, and here we are, and you can see, right here, I've started to add up the totals for this quarter.
Now although the value of that cell is 115,860 and it's all formatted nicely to represent dollars, the actual contents of the cell you can see up here in the Formula bar. A formula never really gets seen inside of a spreadsheet unless you do some special things to force it to show the formula behind the scenes. This formula is made up of a number of operators. The equal sign here, although it is a logical operator, is also the first indication to Excel that you want to begin a formula. If at any time within a cell you type the equal sign, let me do that here, equals b1, then what I'm telling Excel is that I want this cell to equal B1. So the operator is equals and the cell reference is B1. Let me just get rid of that. The formula that I've entered here in B7, a little more useful, is adding up the totals from B2, B3, B4, and B5, and I've explicitly said add this to this, and this to this and this to this. Now we've only used the addition operator here, and you'll notice that all of our statement is included in brackets. That's not entirely necessary, but here's another reminder I'll give you, for people who've been away from the classroom a little bit. When I was studying math, way back maybe in the fourth or fifth grade, my math teacher said BEDMAS. I'm not sure if you remember the term BEDMAS, or if you were ever taught the term. BEDMAS. BEDMAS is an acronym, reminder of the order of operations within a spreadsheet. It goes like this: brackets, exponents, division and multiplication in the order that they appear, addition and subtraction in the order that they appear. And it means brackets are going to take precedence over exponents. Whereas an exponent is going to take precedence over an addition or a multiplication. So the order that you see them there is the order of importance. What this means for you is if I say equals, now I've started a formula inside of Excel. Two plus three times four divided by two. Let's see what value we get there; 8. Now let's figure that one out. Let's go up to our Formula bar. If I add two plus three, that's five, times four should be 20, divided by two would be 10, and yet the value is 8.
According to BEDMAS, three times four would be 12, divided by two is six, plus two is eight, and again it's the order of operations. In a mathematical statement multiplication and division will always take precedence over an addition or subtraction sign. So it does all of the multiplication and division first and then goes back and gets the addition, even though the addition came first in our statement. So that's where brackets come in to play, and that's why I've used brackets in this formula, just out of good habit and good practice, I've put everything in brackets in case I want to do further calculations later on. How we can change this formula to meet what we were thinking in the first place, possibly I'm going to edit it up here in the Formula bar is to put this statement in brackets, this part of the statement in brackets. There we go. Now because brackets are first in the order of importance, as far as BEDMAS, that means that you're going to have two plus three happen first and then you'll multiply the result by four and divide by two, and let's see if we get 10 this time. Yes indeed. So now we have 2 plus 3 is 5, times 4 is 20, divided by 2 is 10. We've explicitly told it what order we want a function in, and that's an important lesson to learn. So there's BEDMAS in action, and there's a brief introduction to creating formulas. We'll take a look at some of the other issues relative to creating formulas next.
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