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Google Sheets Formulas

How to Do Math in Google Sheets for Beginners

In this article, you will learn how to create simple formulas and run basic math calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division in Google Sheets.

How do you do basic calculations in Google Sheets?

You can conduct math calculations by combining signs and numbers in a cell, or signs and cells where numbers are filled in. 

First, let’s see which sign corresponds to each type of basic calculation:

Addition: “+”

Subtraction: “-”

Multiplication: “*”

Division: “/”

Now, let’s assume you want to run the calculation of one plus one.

  1. Select a cell in which you want to show the calculation result.
  2. Type “=,” “1,” “+,” and “1” in a cell in this order.
  3. You can see the computed result of “2” in the cell you entered the calculation.
  4. If you want to do different math, you can replace the plus sign with other signs and/or the “1”s with different numbers.

Next, let’s learn how to use parentheses “()”. They are helpful when you need to prioritize a part of a calculation because, in Google Sheets, multiplication and division are prioritized more than addition and subtraction, as in the real world. Assume a series of calculations of “=1+2*3-4/2.” Without any parentheses, the formula returns 5. If you want to calculate “1+2” first and then multiple 3 and deduct 2 (=4/2), you need to write the formula like this: “=(1+2)*3-4/2.”, which returns 7. If you want to compute “1+2*3-4” first and then divide the result by 2, you can input a formula of ”=(1+2*3-4)/2”, which returns 1.5. You can see what they look like in the middle of the screenshot below.

Lastly, you can replace specific numbers in a formula with cells filled with numbers. This is easy to do. You need to combine cells (instead of specific numbers) with signs as you do for the cases of numbers and signs. See some examples below in the screenshot.

Simple mathematic formulas in Google Sheets

Can you use formulas in Google Sheets?

Yes, you can use a lot of formulas in Google Sheets. Go to the “Insert” tab, and move to the “Function.” You can see an organized list of functions (formulas) you can use in Google Sheets. Once you select one of the functions and enter it in a cell, you can see more guidance on the procedure (e.g., what kind of inputs are required in the formula and what the order of the information should be). 

Now you learned the basic formulas, check the following pages to learn more about complex but useful formulas.

How to Add up Numbers in Google Sheets

How to Use SUMIF Function in Google Sheets

If you’re in charge of finance in your company and willing to use Google Sheets instead of Excel for reporting, LiveFlow would be helpful for you. If you’re interested to find out more about how LiveFlow works, let’s talk. You can book a demo to answer any questions you might have.

Access Excel features when you connect QuickBooks to LiveFlow

Learn how to do this step-by-step in the video below 👇

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