Day: 12 January 2020

A guide to effective Microsoft Excel formulas and their uses

Microsoft first invested in Excel in 1985 for Mac and arrived at Windows in 1987. Building on their older counterparts, the earliest version of an electronic spreadsheet was around as early as 1979. 

Excel formulas are expressions that are input into a cell. They can calculate many different things like a mathematical formula normally would, from things like the sum of a group of cells to the average of a set of cells. Cells are based on a grid reference system e.g. columns are A, B, C, etc, whereas rows are 1,2, 3 etc, like coordinates on a map. Predefined formulas in excel are called functions.

You can also preselect formula and functions from a list already present on Excel. If you aren’t sure, copying and pasting a formula from an internet search for formula then selecting the group of cells they apply to could be a good solution.

How Do They Work?

Excel formulas are inserted into a specific cell. For example, if you wanted to find the value of a list of numbers in a column (say from A1 to A4), you could type the formula in A5:

= A1+A2+A3+A4


= SUM(A1:A4)

Although these two formulas will give you the same result, the second one is a function that will carry out the same role as the first formula and add up all the values in the specified columns. Functions are faster versions of excel formulas and help you find the answer faster.

How Can An Excel Formula Help Me?

Excel formulas can save you time by automating tasks that you’d previously need to carry out yourself. For instance, if you run your own business and are managing your budgets, an Excel formula can calculate the total amount for you. There is even an AutoSum button when you simply quick on the icon and Excel creates the formula and calculates values for you. The Excel Experts can provide many different options when it comes to your spreadsheets, seek out our Excel consultancy services for Excel help remotely or in your local area.

Percentage Formula

If you need to work out the percentage of your expenditure, or how much of a market share your brand is taking up, the percentage calculator could be for you.

If you want to work out the percentage a value takes up, typing in =C1/B1 or what could be total value/ used value, e.g. 100/5  = 20% could be key for your business.


VLookup is a handy formula that helps you consolidate data into a handy table. If you have a large set of values but want to show the key data in a smaller table (like key product information) VLookup might just be for you. It might seem complicated initially but will eventually save you time and prove essential in data capture.

Conditional Formatting

Although not a formula in itself, Conditional formatting can help highlight key delays in a dataset. For instance, if you have key deadlines based on 7 days turnaround, you can select anything over 7 days to show in red, highlighting that task or item is overdue. You can also show things that are on time in green, indicating you don’t need to worry about these items.

Researching these formulae and functions can save you vital time you spend conducting basic business tasks. Learn about formula today and boost the time you can spend in your business.