Keep your finances in check with the best Google Sheets formulas
An easy way to better manage your money is to put everything in a spreadsheet. You may think that only businesses need them, but everyone needs to keep an eye on their finances. A spreadsheet is useful because it provides an overview of your financial situation.
You don’t necessarily need to buy financial software either. you can use Google Sheets, a free online spreadsheet editor that works just like Microsoft Excel. You get 15GB of free storage, so you have room for a lot of financial spreadsheets.
In fact, you may be able to use it for years before updating to paid financial software like our sponsor, Oracle Netsuite† More on that option later. For now, here are a few simple formulas you can use to get the most out of Google Sheets.
First thing is first
You probably know by now that the little boxes you see in a Google Sheets spreadsheet are called cells. You may not know that every cell is a mini calculator. For example, you can type an equation in a cell like this:
Type = before the equation to find the solution, such as:
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As you can see, the answer appears. Pretty handy, huh? This formula feature comes in handy once you start entering numbers into a spreadsheet.
However, don’t think Google Sheets is a simple calculator. It has a lot of impressive features. You can make your own equations with numbers in different cells. You can add two numbers in different columns or subtract two numbers in different rows.
For example, you can type A4+B4+C4 to add up the numbers in those specific cells. The nice thing about cell references is that you can change the values of the cells in the formula and the formula will update itself.
You can also merge cells, create thick black borders between cells, wrap text, and much more. If you want more general knowledge about what Google Sheets can do, we’ve found a comprehensive beginner’s guide. Tap or click here to prepare yourself for success with Google Sheets†
Now let’s move on to the handy formulas
So you opened a spreadsheet. You may be using a template so that you can get started the right way. Tap or click here for 10 free spreadsheet templates to manage your finances.
Now that your data fills the cells in neat little formulas and columns, it’s time for the magic. With a few keystrokes, you can unlock secrets hidden in your formidable data wall. There are many complex formulas, but since this is a basic overview, here are some simple Google Sheets formulas to get you started:
This adds up a range of cells. To use it, select a range and then click the sum button on the far right of the toolbar. Say you’re curious about blockbuster stats, so you create a new spreadsheet and highlight B4, C4, and D4:
Then tap the SUM button, which looks like this:
After that, tap it again to get the total of these three cells. The result appeared in the blank cell on the right, as you can see below:
Let’s say you want to know the average cost of making a blockbuster movie in the 2010s. This sample spreadsheet shows some highlighted production budgets. Press the SUM button and select Average, like so:
As with the other formulas, the solution materialized in a nearby empty cell.
This formula counts the values in a range of selected cells. Just tap the SUM button in the top right corner of your spreadsheet and tap Count. This is useful in huge spreadsheets when you lose track of everything.
You may select a large number of cells and want to see which cell has the largest number. Just tap SUM and Max.
That’s how you hunted for the largest number of the bunch.
This is the opposite of MAX. Follow the same steps: Select a range and press SUM then MIN. You’ll see the smallest number in the range you’ve selected.
These five tips were pretty simple, but they are the best Google Sheets formulas for beginners
We all have to start somewhere. Now that you have the easiest five formulas under your belt, you can move on to the next level: intermediate formulas. With some tricks you can replace or replace cells. You can concatenate several strings into one text string, round numbers down, raise a number to a certain power, and much more.
Want to learn more about Google Sheets formulas? We’ve found a free online course you can take to unlock the full potential of advanced formulas. Tap or click here for a 30-lesson course in Google Sheets Formulas†
Do you need some more help? It’s time for the pros
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