Using Point and Click to Build Formulas in Excel

Use Point and Click to Build Formulas in Excel
Use Point and Click to Build Formulas in Excel. © Ted French

Using point and click in Excel and Google Spreadsheets allows you to use the mouse pointer to add cell references to a formula simply by clicking on the desired cell as shown in the example in the image above.

Point and click is usually the preferred method for adding cell references to a formula or function as it reduces the possibility of errors introduced by misreading or by typing in the wrong cell reference.

This method can also save a lot of time and effort when creating formulas since most people see the data they want to add to the formula rather than the cell reference.

Creating a Formula Using Point and Click

  1. Type an equal sign ( = ) into a cell to start the formula;
  2. Click on the first cell to be added to the formula. The cell reference will appear in the formula, and a dashed blue line will appear around the referenced cell;
  3. Press the mathematical operator key on the keyboard (such as the plus or minus sign) to enter the operator into the formula after the first cell reference;
  4. Click on the second cell to be added to the formula. The cell reference will appear in the formula, and a dashed red line will appear around the second referenced cell;
  5. Continue adding operators and cell references until the formula is finished;
  6. Press Enter on the keyboard to complete the formula and view the answer in the cell.

Point and Click Variation: Using the Arrow Keys

A variation on point and click involves using the arrow keys on the keyboard to enter cell references into a formula. The results are the same, and it is really only a matter of preference as to the method chosen.

To use the arrow keys to enter cell references:

  1. Type an equal sign ( = ) into the cell to start the formula;
  2. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate to the first cell to be used in the formula - the cell reference for that cell is added to the formula after the equal sign;
  3. Press the mathematical operator key on the keyboard - such as the plus or minus sign - to enter the operator into the formula after the first cell reference (the active cell highlight will return to the cell containing the formula);
  4. Use the arrow keys on the keyboard to navigate to the second cell to be used in the formula - the second cell reference is added to the formula after the mathematical operator;
  5. If required, enter additional mathematical operators using the keyboard followed by the cell reference for the formula's data
  6. Once the formula is complete, press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete the formula and view the answer in the cell.