How to Create Google Sheets Formulas on Desktop or Mobile


  • To add a formula in Google Sheets, click the cell where you want the answer, then choose one of the hundreds of functions.
  • To start a formula in a web browser, you need to enter an equals sign. 
  • You don’t need the equals sign in the mobile app unless you’re entering a function manually. 
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While almost anyone can perform rudimentary calculations in Google Sheets without resorting to formulas, if you want to do more than simple arithmetic, it’s incredibly useful to be able to create formulas in Google Sheets. There are hundreds of potential formulas you can work with, making Google Sheets a powerful tool. 

Simply put, a formula performs some sort of calculation on the contents of one or more cells. When properly formatted, a formula always begins with an equals sign, is followed by a function (which tells the formula what to do), and you typically need to specify one or more cells for the function to act on within a set of parentheses. 

How to create Google Sheets formulas on a computer

1. Open Google Sheets in a web browser and click the cell in which you want the formula’s answer to appear. 

2. Find the Formula Bar above the spreadsheet. It’s a blank field to the right of the Fx symbol. Click in the field and type the equals symbol “=”.

Google Sheets in Chrome

Start every formula with an equals sign.

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3. Type the function you want to add to the formula. For example, if you want to sum up a column of numbers, type “SUM” and click SUM when you see it appear in the list of functions. 

4. Google Sheets automatically adds an open parenthesis.

5. Enter the range of cells you want to sum. You can type the range, such as A1:A9, or you can click and drag the mouse from the first cell in the range to the last. 

6. Type the closing parenthesis and press Enter

Google Sheets in Chrome

A formula is typically composed of a function that works on a range of cells, contained in parenthesis.

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If you don’t know the exact function you need, you can browse the list of functions. Click in the Formula Bar and choose Insert, then Function. Find the function you want from the menu and click it. 

How to create Google Sheets formulas on a mobile device

1. Start the Google Sheets app on your Android or iOS device and tap the cell in which you want the formula’s answer to appear. 

2. On an Android phone, tap the fx symbol below the spreadsheet. On iOS, tap the Pencil icon at the bottom right, then tap the fx symbol.

Google Sheets app on iPhone

To create a formula in Google Sheets for iPhone, you need to tap the pencil to get to the fx symbol.

Dave Johnson


3. In the list of functions, tap browse the categories. Tap the category you need followed by the function you want to insert in your formula. 

4. Google Sheets guides you through creating the formula with formatting hints. Choose the cell or range of cells you need to properly complete the formula. To make a range of cells, tap the first cell in the range and then tap the last cell in the range. 

5. Tap the checkmark to the right of the Function Bar

Google Sheets app on iPhone

After entering the function and specifying the range, tap the checkmark to save your formula.

Dave Johnson




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