Today let’s look at 3 different ways to enter formulas into your Excel workbooks. Do you use the same method over and over again?. you may find a quicker method… read on with me.
Let’s look at an example where want to find the Total Costs which we want to display in Column F, which is the Items Sold held in Column C multiplied by the Item Cost held in Column D.
The first formula entry method is to simply enter in the formula, by putting the cell pointer in F4 and type =C4*D4 and then press Enter. This should take you 7 key strokes to complete
This typing the cell references along with the formula is all well and good and fairly quick, allowing you to use the keyboard, but as you can imagine it is not great for when you have some more complex formulas as it can get quite complicated.
This method involves using the arrow keys. Once mastered it is really quick and quite intuitive. Let’s repeat the same formula starting with moving the cell pointer to cell F4. Then start the formula by typing the = sign to let Excel know you are about to enter a formula.
Hit the left arrow 3 times to get to C4, and a dotted border will appear around the cell.
Next hit the * sign either on the numeric keyboard or the numeric pad. The dotted border will disappear from C4 and a solid border will replace it. If you hit any operator key such as * – + etc Excel knows that you are moving onto the next part of your formula.
Next hit the left arrow two times and the dotted line appears around cell D4.
Hit enter and you now have your formula. This only takes 5 key strokes – wow!
Did you know you can also start a formula with the + sign, if you do this you can type the WHOLE formula on your numeric pad on a keyboard. +<<<*>enter. How fast is that?????
The third method is to use the mouse as well as the keyboard. I find most users use this method unless they have been trained or have been shown early in their Excel day to day usage the other two formula entry methods above. Using the mouse and keyboard is quite time consuming.
Again using the same formula as our two methods above, click the mouse in cell F4 and type the = sign on the keyboard. Click on cell C4, go to the keyboard and type the * sign. Click back into cell D4 with your mouse then hit the equals sign.
As you can tell this is a really long winded way of accomplishing a very simple task, in particular when moving from the mouse to the keyboard which can be fiddly and distracting.
If you use Method 3, the ‘Mouse Method’ why not give one of the other quicker methods a go for half a day and see if it speed up your formula writing.