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How to Do Math Formulas in Google Sheets

Google Sheets can perform all sorts of calculations from simple to complex.

As you begin working in different spreadsheet programs, you want to take the time to learn how to do these basic math formulas. Using Google Sheets to do math for you can really speed up the time it takes you to crunch numbers.

In this tutorial, we will show you how to create basic math formulas using the power of Google Sheets.

How to Put a Formula in Google Sheets

All formulas in Google Sheets start by entering the equals sign (=) on your keyboard.

For calculating the actual math equation there are two different methods: the cell reference method and the point and click method.

Here we will show you how to do both methods.

Cell Reference Method

  1. Double click into the cell where you want to begin the formula
  2. Press the equals sign on the keyboard (=)
  3. Type the reference of the first cell you want in the formula. In the below example I am adding cells A1 with A2. So I typed A1 first
  4. Put in your math operator 
  5. Type the location of the second cell you want in your formula (A2 in the example)
  6. Press Enter to complete your formula

Cell Reference Method

With the cell reference method you are manually typing the cell locations to enter in your formula

Point and Click Method

The point and click method is very similar to the cell reference except instead of using your keyboard to type cell locations you simply point and click with your mouse to select the cells you want in the equation.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Double click into the cell where you want the equation to calculate
  2. Press the equals sign on your keyboard (=)
  3. Click on the first cell that you want to be added in the formula (A1 in the example)
  4. Put in your math operator using the keyboard
  5. Click on the second cell you want in the formula
  6. Press Enter to calculate the equation

Point and Click

With either of these methods you can add as many cells as you want into your equation. In the example we only added two cells, but you can do many more

Math Operators

To do math in Google Sheets  you will use the standard operators:

  • Plus sign for addition: +
  • Minus sign for subtraction: –
  • Asterisk for multiplication: *
  • Forward slash for division: /
  • Caret for exponents: ^

How to Add

  1. Double click into the cell where you want the equation to calculate
  2. Press the equals sign on your keyboard (=)
  3. Click on the first cell that you want to be added in the formula (A1 in the example)
  4. Press the plus sign to do addition (+)
  5. Click on the second cell you want in the formula (A2 in the example)
  6. Press Enter to calculate your equation (or you can continue adding more cells to the formula by adding another plus sign and selecting more cells before this step)

Adding

How to Sum

  1. Double click into the cell where you want the sum equation to calculate
  2. Press the equals sign on your keyboard (=)
  3. Begin typing sum and when it shows up in the popup option press Tab on your keyboard to start the formula
  4. Click on the first cell that you want to start summing in the formula (A1 in the example)
  5. Press and hold the Shift key on the keyboard
  6. Click on the last cell that you want summed in the formula (A5 in the example)
  7. Press Enter to calculate your equation. This will sum all of the cells that you in your selected range (A1 to A5 in the example)

Sum

How to Multiply

  1. Double click into the cell where you want the equation to calculate
  2. Press the equals sign on your keyboard (=)
  3. Click on the first cell that you want to be multiplied in the formula (A1 in the example)
  4. Press the asterisk sign to do multiplication (*)
  5. Click on the second cell you want to be multiplied in the formula (A2 in the example)
  6. Press Enter to calculate your equation

Multiplication

How to Divide

  1. Double click into the cell where you want the equation to calculate
  2. Press the equals sign on your keyboard (=)
  3. Click on the first cell that you want to divide in the formula (A1 in the example)
  4. Press the forward slash sign to do division (/)
  5. Click on the second cell you want in the formula (A2 in the example)
  6. Press Enter to calculate your equation

Division

Doing Math on Entire Columns

  1. Double click into the first cell of the column where you want to do the math
  2. Press the equals sign on your keyboard (=)
  3. Click on the first cell that you want to be added in the formula (A1 in the example)
  4. On your keyboard press whatever math operator you want depending on what you are calculating (we did addition in this example)
  5. Click on the second cell you want in the formula (A2 in the example)
  6. Press Enter to calculate your equation
  7. Press CTRL + C on your keyboard or right-click and select Copy on the cell that has the finished math equation
  8. Highlight the entire column you want to do the math on. You can either click and hold with your pointer to highlight all the cells or you can click the letter at the top of the column to select the entire column
  9. Press CTRL + V on your keyboard or right-click and select Paste
  10. This will paste your math formula and calculate for the entire column

Math on Columns in Google Sheets

Closing Thoughts

Learning to create formulas is something every spreadsheet user needs to learn. As you’ve now learned, the process is very similar for each kind of math equation. You just have to select the appropriate math operator.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful. Be sure to reach out with any questions.

More Google Sheets Tutorials:
How to Lock a Row
How to Rotate Text
Renaming Columns for Easier Formula Referencing
Troubleshooting Formulas Not Working