Summer Camp: Excel Formulas with Kyle Stokes

In this 28-minute webinar, StateImpact Indiana reporter Kyle Stokes walks you through some Excel basics, including:

  • using cell references!
  • copying formulas down a column!
  • calculating sum and difference!
  • and calculating rate of change!

To follow along, download the data here.

And for quick reference, here is a sampling of some of our favorite Excel formulas for journalists, below:

  • Basic calculations are written as follows (substituting the appropriate cell references, of course):

=SUM(A1:A20) for addition
=A1-A2 for subtraction
=A1*A2 for multiplication
=A1/A2 for division

  • Rate of Change:

Rate of Change is written as “=(New-Old)/Old”, or =(A1-A2)/A2

  • If, Then:

Another handy formula is the “If, then,” which can help you sort out your data or find anomalies. It is written as “=IF(criteria, true, false),” or =IF(A1>A2, yes, no). With those instructions, Excel would write “yes” into any cell where, A1 is greater than A2, and “no” when it isn’t.

  • Adjusting your style:

If you just need to polish up some unfortunate formatting, Excel can help with that, too. One biggie is switching from ALL UPPERCASE to proper case, or vice versa. StateImpact reporters often need to do that to have cells feed into information boxes on their fancy maps. To do that, you’d just enter: “=PROPER(cell),” or =PROPER(A1) and that should do the trick.

Excel has many other functions available in their handy-dandy formula finder. For many things, just remember that the order of operations much like algebra (left to right, from the inside out).

And enjoy your new-found data powers!


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