Adding Numbers in Excel
To add two or more numbers in Excel you need to create a formula. Two important points to remember about Excel formulas:
- formulas in Excel always begin with the equal sign ( = )
- the equal sign always goes in the cell where you want the answer to go
Use Cell References in Formulas
Even though you can use numbers directly in a formula, it is much better to use the references or addresses of the cells containing the numbers you want to add. If you use the cell references rather than the actual data, later, if you need to change the data in either cell, the results of the formula will update automatically without you having to rewrite the formula.
Setting Up the Addition Formula
As an example, lets create a formula in cell C1 that will add the data in cell B1 to the data in A1.
=A1 + B1
- place the number 20 in cell A1
- place the number 10 in cell B1
To add 10 to 20 and have the answer appear in cell C1:
- Type an equal sign in cell C1.
- Click on cell A1 with the mouse pointer.
- Type the plus sign ( ) in cell C1.
- Click on cell B1 with the mouse pointer.
- Press the ENTER key on the keyboard.
- The answer 30 should be present in cell C1.
- Even though you see the answer in cell C1, if you click on that cell you will see our formula in the formula bar above the work area.
To expand your formula to include additional operations - such as subtraction, multiplication, or more additions- just continue to add the correct mathematical operator followed by the cell reference containing your data.
Note: Before you mix different mathematical operations, be sure you understand the order of operations that Excel follows when evaluating a formula.