Formulas explained

Hi there! Are you a Google Sheets enthusiast who wants to take your spreadsheet skills to the next level? You’ve come to the right place! My name is [Your Name], and I’m here to help you understand and master the magic of Google Sheets formulas.

As someone who’s spent countless hours tinkering with spreadsheets, I know that the use of formulas can be intimidating at first. But trust me when I say that once you understand the basics, they can be incredibly powerful tools for automating tasks, analyzing data, and transforming your spreadsheets from boring tables into dynamic, living documents.

So, grab your favorite beverage (mine is coffee, BTW), and let’s dive into some of my favorite Google Sheets formulas!

Let’s start with a classic: the SUM formula. This one is pretty straightforward; it allows you to add up a range of numbers in your sheet. Here’s how you use it:

=SUM([range of cells])

For example: imagine that you have a sheet with sales data from your e-commerce site. You want to calculate the total revenue for the quarter. All you need to do is select the cell where you want the sum to appear, type in the SUM formula, and specify the range of cells containing the sales figures:

=SUM(B2:B12)

And voilà! You’ve got your total revenue for the quarter. Simple, but oh so useful.

Now, let’s move on to a slightly more complex formula: IF. This one lets you set up conditional statements in your sheet, allowing you to perform different actions based on certain criteria. Here’s what it looks like:

=IF([condition], [value if true], [value if false])

For example: let’s say that you have a sheet with customer survey data, and you want to calculate the average score for customer satisfaction. But some respondents didn’t give a score, and their cells are empty. You want to ignore those empty cells in your calculation. Here’s how you would use the IF formula:

=IF(ISBLANK([cell]), "", [cell])

This formula checks whether a cell is blank. If it is, it returns an empty string (the two quotation marks with nothing in between). If it’s not blank, it returns the value in the cell. You can then use the AVERAGE formula to calculate the average score, and it will ignore the empty cells.

Next up, we have the VLOOKUP formula. This one is a bit fancier, but it’s incredibly useful for looking up data in a large table or database. Here’s how it works:

=VLOOKUP([lookup value], [range], [column index], [exact match])

The VLOOKUP formula searches for a value in the first column of a table, and returns the corresponding value from a specified column. Let’s say that you have a sheet with customer orders, and you want to look up the shipping cost based on the customer’s location. You can set up a separate table with shipping costs for different regions, and use the VLOOKUP formula to retrieve the correct cost:

=VLOOKUP([customer location], [shipping table], [column index for shipping cost])

Easy peasy! No more manual lookup in your shipping database.

The CONCATENATE formula is a mouthful, but it’s essentially just a fancy word for combining strings of text. Here’s the basic syntax:

=CONCATENATE([string1], [string2], [string3], …)

For example: imagine that you have a sheet with a column for first names and a column for last names, and you want to combine them into a single column for full names. All you need to do is use the CONCATENATE formula:

=CONCATENATE([cell with first name], " ", [cell with last name])

And you’ll get a beautifully formatted full name column.

Last but not least, we have the ARRAYFORMULA. This formula is a game-changer when it comes to efficiency, as it allows you to apply a formula to an entire column or range of cells at once, rather than having to copy and paste the formula into each individual cell. Here’s what it looks like:

=ARRAYFORMULA([formula])

For example: let’s say that you have a sheet with sales data, and you want to calculate the commission for each sales rep based on their total sales. You could use an IF formula to calculate the commission for each individual sale, but that would involve copying and pasting the formula into each cell in the commission column. Instead, you can use the ARRAYFORMULA to apply the formula to the entire column at once:

=ARRAYFORMULA(IF([total sales]>[quota], [total sales]*0.1, [total sales]*0.05))

And there you go! An entire column of commission calculations in one fell swoop.

And that’s it! Those are just five of the many, many formulas that Google Sheets has to offer. But don’t stop here! Keep exploring and experimenting, and who knows what kind of Sheet wizardry you’ll be capable of.

Thanks for joining me on this formula journey. If you have any other favorite Google Sheets formulas, tell me about them in the comments below.

Cheers, and happy Sheets-ing!