Would you like to use a calculator?

Using Excel as a calculator

Instead of using a calculator, use Microsoft Excel to do the calculations.

You can enter simple formulas to add, divide, multiply, and subtract two or more numeric values. Or, use the AutoSum function to quickly sum a series of values ​​without manually entering them into a formula. After you've created a formula, you can copy it to adjacent cells - you don't have to create the same formula over and over.

Subtract in Excel

Multiply in Excel

Divide in Excel

Learn more about creating simple formulas

All formula entries begin with an equal sign (=). For simple formulas, just type the equal sign followed by the numeric values ​​you want to calculate and the math operators you want to use: the plus sign (+) you want to add the minus sign (-) to subtract, the asterisk (*) to multiply and the slash (/) to divide. Then press ENTER and Excel will calculate and display the result of the formula immediately.

For example, if you put in cell C5 =12,99+16,99 and then press ENTER, Excel will calculate the result and display 29.98 in that cell.

The formula you enter in a cell remains visible in the formula bar and appears every time you select the cell.

Important: Although there is a function TOTAL there is no function SUBTRACT. Instead, use the minus (-) operator in a formula, for example = 8-3 + 2-4 + 12. Alternatively, you can use a minus sign to convert a number in the SUM function to its negative value; for example, in the formula = SUM (12; 5; -3; 8; -4) the SUM function is used to add 12 and 5, subtract 3, add 8, and subtract 4, in that order .

Using AutoSum

The easiest way to add a SUM formula to a worksheet is to use AutoSum. Select a blank cell just above or below the range you want to add up and click the tabs on the ribbon begin or formula on AutoSum > total. AutoSum automatically determines the range to be added and creates the formula for you. This also works horizontally if you select a cell to the left or right of the area to be added.

Note: AutoSum does not work in disjointed areas.

Vertical AutoSum

The image above shows how AutoSum automatically recognizes cells B2: B5 as the range to add. All you have to do is press ENTER to confirm the action. If you need to add or exclude more cells, you can press SHIFT + the arrow key you want until the selection is what you want. Press Enter to complete the task.

IntelliSense function: The floating tag SUM (number1; [number2]; ...) below the function is your IntelliSense orientation aid. When you click the SUM or the function name, it becomes a blue link to the help topic for that function. When you click on the individual function elements, their representative data values ​​are highlighted in the formula. In this case only B2: B5 would be highlighted because this formula only contains a numerical reference. The IntelliSense tag is displayed for each function.

Horizontal AutoSum

For more information, see the SUM function article.

Avoid having to re-create the same formula

After you've created a formula, you can copy it to other cells; that is, you don't have to create the same formula over and over again. You can either copy the formula or use the fill handle to copy the formula to adjacent cells.

For example, if you copy the formula in cell B6 to cell C6, the formula in that cell will automatically change so that the cell references refer to column C.

After copying the formula, make sure the cell references are correct. Cell references can change if they have relative references. For more information, see Copy and paste a formula into another cell or worksheet.

What can I use in a formula to simulate a calculator?

Calculator button

Excel method

Description, example


+ (Plus button)

+ (Plus)

Used in a formula to add numbers. Example: = 4 + 6 + 2


- (minus key)

- (minus)

Used in a formula to subtract numbers or denote a negative value.

Example: = 18-12

Example: = 24 * -5 (24 times minus 5)



x (multiplication key)

* (Star)

Used in a formula to multiply numbers. Example: = 8 * 3


÷ (division key)

/ (Slash)

Used in a formula to divide one number by another. Example: = 45/5


% (Percent key)

% (Percent)

Used in a formula with * to multiply a value by a percentage. Example: = 15% * 20


(Square root)

ROOT (function)

You use the ROOT function in a formula to find the square root of a number. Example: = ROOT (64)


1 / x (reciprocal)

= 1 / n

You use = 1 /n in a formula in which n is the number to divide by 1.

Example: = 1/8


Do you need more help?

You can always ask an expert in the Excel Tech Community or get support in the Answers Community.

See also

Calculation operators and order of operations in Excel

Overview of the formulas in Excel

Avoiding mistakes in formulas

Find and fix errors in formulas

Excel keyboard shortcuts and function keys

Excel functions (alphabetical)

Excel functions (by category)