How to Do Formulas in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Ever felt like a math wizard while using Google Sheets? No? Well, let’s change that. Formulas in Google Sheets can seem daunting, but they are a powerful tool to make your data work for you. Whether you’re calculating budgets, analyzing survey results, or tracking inventory, understanding how to use formulas is crucial. Here’s a quick guide to get you started on mastering formulas in Google Sheets.

Step by Step Tutorial: Formulas in Google Sheets

Before we dive into the steps, it’s important to know that formulas in Google Sheets help automate calculations and data analysis. They are like your personal data assistants, ready to crunch numbers at your command.

Step 1: Select the cell where you want the result to appear

Click on the cell where you want to see the calculated value.

Formulas in Google Sheets always start with an equals sign (=). This tells Google Sheets that you’re about to enter a formula, not just data.

Step 2: Type the equals sign (=) followed by the formula

Type the equals sign and then the formula without any spaces.

The formula could be a simple addition, like =A1+B1, or something more complex involving functions like SUM, AVERAGE, or IF.

Step 3: Press Enter

After typing your formula, hit the Enter key on your keyboard to see the magic happen.

Google Sheets will calculate the result based on your formula and display it in the selected cell. If you see an error message, double-check your formula for any typos or mistakes.

After you’ve completed these steps, you will see the result of your formula in the cell you selected. It’s like conjuring up answers with a digital wand!

Tips for Formulas in Google Sheets

  • Always start your formula with an equals sign (=).
  • Use cell references (like A1 or B2) to make your formulas dynamic.
  • Explore functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and IF to perform common calculations.
  • Remember that formulas can reference cells from different sheets within the same document.
  • Use dollar signs ($) in your cell references to make them absolute if you don’t want them to change when copying the formula.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I get an error message?

Check your formula for typos or incorrect cell references. Also, ensure you’re using the correct syntax for any functions.

Can I copy formulas to other cells?

Yes, you can copy and paste formulas. Use absolute references if you don’t want the cell references to change when copying.

How do I use functions in my formulas?

Type the function name followed by parentheses. Inside the parentheses, add the cell references or values you want to calculate.

Can I use formulas across different sheets?

Absolutely! Just include the sheet name followed by an exclamation mark before the cell reference (like this: Sheet2!A1).

How can I learn more complex formulas?

Google’s support pages and various online tutorials offer in-depth guides to mastering complex formulas in Google Sheets.


  1. Select the cell for the result.
  2. Type the equals sign (=) and your formula.
  3. Press Enter to calculate.


Formulas in Google Sheets can turn a daunting pile of data into insightful, clear, and organized information. They are the backbone of data analysis and can help you make informed decisions based on your data. With the tips provided, you’ll be able to navigate through the basics and even dip your toes into more complex calculations. Remember, practice makes perfect when it comes to mastering formulas. Don’t hesitate to experiment with different functions and see how they can best serve your needs. The more you tinker with formulas, the more proficient you’ll become. So, go ahead, give it a try and watch as Google Sheets becomes your go-to for data magic.