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Spreadsheets are used to work with financial information. Spreadsheet charts are laid out in numbered rows and lettered columns. Where the row and column intersect is called a cell.

The cell is referred to by the letter and number of the intersection called the cell address. The first cell in a chart is at the intersection of column A and row 1 and is referred to as Cell A1.

Some commercial Spreadsheets are Microsoft Excel , Corel QuatroPro , Lotus 123 and others. Calc is an Open Source office program that is free to download and use. Tax and accounting software are also spreadsheets but are designed to provide tools and utilities which help get the specific job done.

When working with numbers in a spreadsheet, refer to the cell addresses when creating mathematical formulas. This is because any changes you make to a single cell will be automatically updated without having to reenter the numbers in the rest of the cells.

Use the plus sign (+) to add; the minus (-) sign to subtract; the asterix (*) to multiply; and the back slash (/) to divide.

Spreadsheets use formulas to create simple to complex mathematical equations. A sheet can be built to handle the financial needs of businesses.

Most of the standard editing features are available in the spreadsheet such as Bold, Italics, Underline, Move, Copy and Paste.

Information from a spreadsheet can be displayed in chart form.

Most spreadsheet programs include templates to handle many of the average financial needs of a home user or small business. These templates can be modified or customized to personalize them for your own needs.


Animation of a simple spreadsheet that multiplies values in the left column by 2, then sums the calculated values from the right column to the bottom-most cell. In this example, only the values in the A column are entered (10, 20, 30), and the remainder of cells are formulas.

Formulas in the B column multiply values from the A column using relative references, and the formula in B4 uses the SUM() function to find the sum of values in the B1:B3 range.

A formula identifies the calculation needed to place the result in the cell it is contained within.

A cell containing a formula therefore has two display components; the formula itself and the resulting value. The formula is normally only shown when the cell is selected by "clicking" the mouse over a particular cell; otherwise it contains the result of the calculation.

A formula assigns values to a cell or range of cells, and typically has the format:
where the expression consists of:
  • values, such as 2, 9.14 or 6.67E-11
  • references to other cells, such as, e.g., A1 for a single cell or B1:B3 for a range
  • arithmetic operators, such as +, -, *, /, etc. 
  • relational operators, such as >=, <, etc. 
  • functions, such as SUM(), TAN(), etc.
When a cell contains a formula, it often contains references to other cells. Such a cell reference is a type of variable. Its value is the value of the referenced cell or some derivation of it. If that cell in turn references other cells, the value depends on the values of those. References can be relative (e.g., A1, or B1:B3), absolute (e.g., $A$1, or $B$1:$B$3) or mixed row-wise or column-wise absolute/relative (e.g., $A1 is column-wise absolute and A$1 is row-wise absolute).

Spreadsheets usually contain a number of supplied functions, such as arithmetic operations (for example, summations, averages and so forth), trigonometric functions, statistical functions, and so forth. In addition there is often a provision for user-defined functions.


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