By Ted French. Spreadsheets Expert
Ted French has over fifteen years experience teaching and writing about spreadsheet programs such as Excel, Google Spreadsheets and Lotus 1-2-3. Read more
Dividing Numbers in Excel
To divide two numbers in Excel you need to create a formula .
Important points to remember about Excel formulas :
- formulas in Excel always begin with the equal sign ( = )
- the equal sign always goes in the cell where you want the answer to go
- the division symbol is the forward slash ( / )
- The formula is completed by pressing the Enter key on the keyboard
Using Cell References in Formulas
By using cell references rather than the actual data in a formula, later, if it becomes necessary to change the data. it is a simple matter of replacing the data in the cells rather than rewriting the formula.
Division Formula Example
As seen in the image above, this example creates a formula in cell D1 that divides the data in cell C1 by the data in C2.
The finished formula in cell D1 will be:
Entering the data:
- Type the number 20 in cell C1 and press the Enter key on the keyboard
- Type the number 10 in cell C2 and press the Enter key on the keyboard
Entering the Formula using Pointing
Although it is possible to just type the above formula into cell D1 and have the correct answer appear, it is better to use pointing to add the cell references to formulas
in order to minimize the possibility of errors created by typing in the wrong cell reference.
Pointing involves clicking on the cell containing the data with the mouse pointer to add the cell reference to the formula.
Continue Reading Below
- Click on cell C1 with the mouse pointer to add that cell reference to the formula after the equal sign
- Type the division sign ( / ) in cell D1 after the cell reference
- Click on cell C2 with the mouse pointer to add that cell reference to the formula after the division sign
- Press the Enter key on the keyboard to complete the formula
- The answer 2 should be present in cell D1
- Even though you see the answer in cell D1, clicking on that cell will display the formula in the formula bar above the worksheet
Changing the Formula Data
To test the value of using cell references in a formula, change the number in cell C2 from 10 to 5 and press the Enter key on the keyboard. The answer in cell D1 should automatically update to 4 to reflect the change in data in cell C2.
Creating More Complex Formulas
To expand the formula to include additional operations - such as division or addition - just continue to add the correct mathematical operator followed by the cell reference containing the new data.
Before mixing different mathematical operations together in a formula however, it is important to understand the order of operations that Excel follows when evaluating a formula.
For practice, try this step by step example of a more complex formula .