Official website for iCreate - the creative magazine for Mac users


Sep 3, 2012

Learn how to use and apply formulas in Numbers on your Mac

by Freddie Harrison

In this simple, step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to manage your finances with simple, bespoke formulas in Numbers, Apple’s Excel alternative for Mac.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - SidebarFormulas in Numbers tutorial - MainUnless you’re lucky enough to be a mathematical genius, anything regarding the word formula can initially be intimidating and confusing. Luckily, you don’t need to be a genius to use Numbers as it does all the hard work for you. A formula in a spreadsheet basically refers to how the value of a cell is calculated. So if C represents a column and 1, 2 and 3 refer to rows, C3=C1+C2 would be a basic formula. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how anyone can use this simple function to make organising your finances simple and effective. In this case, we’ll show you how to plan your budget for a birthday party so you don’t end up overspending.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step-by-Step

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 1

Step 1: Add a table

Open a template and add a title, images or both. When you’re ready to start adding data, go to the Tables menu and select the Headers option.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 2

Step 2: Resize

Resize the table by dragging the handle bars. Delete the rows and columns you don’t need by right-clicking while holding down the Control key.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 3

Step 3: Adding colour

Adding colour will make your chart more visually appealing. Highlight headers by selecting the top row and tapping the Fill option on the Format bar.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 4

Step 4: Adding text

Add text to your table by clicking in each cell and typing. This table is going to be your guest list. Include names, contact details and the total number per family.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 5

Step 5: Sum

The first calculation is to add up the number of guests. Select the last column and select Sum from the Function menu. The value will appear in the cell below.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 6

Step 6: Budget

Add a three columned table below for the budget. Include a description in the first column and the Per Person Cost in the next. The last will be for the Total Cost.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 7

Step 7: Doing the maths

Click in the first Total Cost cell and tap ‘=’ to open the Formula editor. Click inside the cell to the immediate left (Per Person Cost) – this will add it to the formula.

Formulas in Numbers - tutorial Step 8

Step 8: Multiplication

Add an asterisk (*) to indicate a multiplication and then click in the Total in party cell. It will automatically multiply 10 x 13. Hit the tick to accept.

Formulas in Numbers tutorial - Step 9

Step 9: Totals

The formula will now have calculated the Total Cost for that item. Repeat this for each item then repeat Step five to get an overall Total Cost of your event.

(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)

Learn how to use and apply formulas in Numbers on your Mac

  • Tell a Friend
  • Our Twitter provides the latest breaking apple news, reviews, tutorials and downloads online and our Facebook fan page is the best place to communicate with other iCreate fans.