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How to build up formulas in Microsoft Excel for iPad

Here’s how to get to grips with the formula tools built in to Excel for iPad

MainMost of us have at least a basic knowledge of formulas in Excel, and everything you look for when you first open it on iPad is right there beneath your fingertips. With the options in the Formula ribbon along the top of the app – consistent with Word and PowerPoint, and the desktop apps – and those that pop up as and when you need them, it’s really easy to start putting together formulas with a bit of tapping around and minimal character input with the keyboard.

What we’re going to do here is have a look at some of the formulas already in place in your templates to get familiar with their structure, and then put together a simple formula by combining functions through the ribbon options. Let’s get going.


Step 1

1 Take a look

Open the Mortgage Loan Calculator template, then tap a formula cell. Notice the colour of the selected cells and how it matches up to parts of the formula at the top.

Step 2

2 Close it down

You’ll also see that brackets, operators and functions (like IF or SUM) are just plain text. Tap the red cross to the right to cancel (or the tick saves any changes).

Step 3

3 Start a formula

Find an empty cell up at the top-left and tap it. Now tap the ‘fx’ button to the left of the formula bar – this drops in an ‘=’ and brings up the function options below.

Step 4

4 Get info

Scroll past your recent functions at the top
to see the full list below. Tap the ‘i’ beside a function to see what it does – this is a great way to learn new functions.

Step 5

5 Add a function

Tap a function to add it and you’ll see a formula template ready for you. Tap the first argument to begin. Since we’ve gone for an IF, we’ll start with a logic test.

Step 6

6 Select and type

If you now tap other cells, their references will be added to your formula. You can use the keyboard switcher above your Delete key to input characters, numbers and operators.

Step 7

7 Quick add

If you want to input another function inside your formula, start typing it and you can quickly add it from the drop-down that appears. Finish up your formula and tap the tick.

Step 8

8 Ribbon tools

You can also find functions by tapping the categories that appear in your Formulas ribbon at the top of the interface. Quick sums and recent functions are over to the left.

Step 9

9 Convert to value

To the right of the Formulas ribbon, past the More category (‘…’), there’s a calculator icon. Tap that with a formula selected and you’ll convert it into a regular value.

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