If you’ve never set up a formula in Excel before, you might think that it would be difficult. Well think again! In this quick tutorial I’ll show you how to master Excel formulas in 4 simple steps in under 5 minutes.

Microsoft Excel works in a similar way to a calculator. If I asked you if you could add 2+2 on a calculator, you would say “of course, that’s easy!”

The difference with Excel however is that we don’t add numbers, we add *cell references* instead.

In the following example we’re using a spreadsheet called ‘Simple Formulas’ which you can download here.

**Step 1:** click in the cell where you want to place the formula (in this case C1) and press =

**Step 2**: next click in the first cell that you want to add (A1)

**Step 3:** now type + and click in the next cell (B1)

**Step 4:** press the Enter key and the values in both cells will be added together. The result of course will be 4 – simple!

Subtracting, multiplying and dividing all work the same way. In the next example, we’ll subtract cell B1 from A1:

Our result this time should be 0!

Multiplication works in the same way, however the symbol that we use is *. You can use the number pad on your keyboard, or simply press shift+8:

Now our result will be 4.

Finally, division uses the / symbol and so our formula looks like this:

2 divided by 2 will give you 1.

And that’s it, I did say formulas in Excel are easy! Of course some formulas will be longer and more complex, but the same basic principles always apply. As a reminder, the arithmetic symbols that we use are:

**Addition: +**

**Subtraction: –**

**Multiplication: ***

**Division: /**

I hope this short tutorial has been useful and if so, please share with your colleagues who might also find it beneficial.

This is the first in a series of a new Microsoft Office tutorials, so check back weekly for more tips and tricks!