No doubt, the Microsoft Office suite is one of the best productivity software around. It contains so many important tools that we use every day. One particular member of this family that has stuck with us and become essential is Excel Software. This software has grown to be one of the most used software programs of the 21st Century, and it’s hard to imagine a business world without it.
Although Everyone knows about Excel Software, not everyone knows how to operate the software not to talk of performing basic arithmetic operations. That’s Ok!
This guide was created for that exact reason. In fact, I will assume zero knowledge about Excel software, and will start with the very basics. By the end of this write-up, you will know how to add and subtract on Excel, and not just numbers alone, but also cell references.
You will also learn how to use special functions to simplify arithmetic operations and find out how to add and subtract lists of rows and columns. Since we have a lot to learn, let’s get started!
A Quick Overview of the Excel Software
Microsoft Excel – or Excel for short – is a software program used for storing, organizing, and manipulating data (just like what we are about to do). This program organizes data into rows (horizontal) and columns (vertical) making it easy to analyze and manipulate data.
The Excel document is called a workbook and the intersection of a row and a column is called a cell (the box where you type in your data). The file extension for an Excel workbook is .xlsx and thanks to Microsoft’s generosity, the Excel program can open over 20 different file extensions including Html and pdfs.
Although Excel Software is mostly used in the business world for calculations, expense tracking, and financial reports, the software can do more than that. It can be used for charting, creating forms and quizzes, and even used to create a puzzle game like the popular Sudoku.
How to add in Excel
So it is time to get our hands dirty and perform some calculations. To better understand the whole concept, it is best if we illustrate with an example. Since money is something we use every day, we’ll use that as an example.
Basic addition in Excel
Suppose we want to add $100 (service fee for a gig ) to $25 (a gift from a friend). All you have to do is place the mouse cursor in a cell of your choice, and type in ‘ =$100 + $25 ‘ and the calculation will be performed immediately.
Note: Whenever you want to perform any calculation in Excel, you must put the equal sign (=) before whatever you want to calculate. Without the equal sign, no calculations will be performed.
Adding Cell References
Sometimes when we type in numbers, we won’t want to perform arithmetic operations. Sometimes (or most of the time), these numbers are already in a cell, and we just need to perform calculations on them. What do we do?
Microsoft has provided us with an easy way of doing this. Once you type in the equal sign, type in the cell references you want to perform calculations on. This is how it looks like in brief: ‘= A2+B2’.
If you are feeling a little bit lazy and don’t want to type in the cell reference, you can click on the cells and still obtain the same result.
Sum Function (A smarter way to add)
As you know, there is always a better way of doing things. The Excel addition operation is no exception.
Microsoft provides us the SUM function for adding. To utilize the sum function, all you have to do is to first type the equal sign, followed by the word “SUM” and then the numbers to be added within parentheses separated by commas.
This is how it looks like in brief: ‘=SUM (100,25)’.
Adding a Range of Cell References
Yes, you can also add a list of rows and columns in Excel. It is simple and easy. Type in the equal sign, followed by the word ‘SUM’, and then the range’s starting and ending cell separated by a colon inside parentheses.
This is how it looks like: ‘=SUM(B1:B5)’.
How to Subtract on Excel
It is logical for us to see how to subtract in Excel after looking at how to perform addition. The difference between the addition operation and the subtraction operation is a thin line.
All you have to do is flip the sign.
Just like addition, all you have to do is place your mouse cursor in a cell and type in the equal sign followed by the numbers you want to subtract. For example: ‘=100-25’ and the calculation will be performed.
Subtracting Cell References
In place of the actual numbers, type in their cell reference and the calculation will be performed. This is how it looks like: ‘=B2-A2’.
Subtracting from a Range of Cells
Although Excel has no subtract function, you can subtract from a range of cells using the SUM function.
First, type the equal sign followed by the range of cells you want to subtract from in the SUM function, then type the minus sign and the cell reference that needs to be subtracted.
This is how it all looks like: ‘=SUM(B1:B5) – B6’
Now, you see how to add and subtract in Excel. You have just learned an important skill. Keep it up!