Productivity Suite

Q3 Party Planner: Formula

13. Dig the Data


This demo uses Google Sheets. This works the same as in Excel except where noted in the steps below.



You have now created and formatted your basic spreadsheet. One of the really useful functions of a spreadsheet is its ability to do calculations. It can do much more than a calculator can do if you know how to create a formula. All formulas start with an equal sign. Let's calculate how many people will be coming to your party! 

I Can Statement

  • calculate numbers using a spreadsheet

Key Vocabulary

  • Average: Average is the function of finding the average value, or arithmetic mean, of values in a selected range of cells. (=average)
  • Count: The count is the function of totaling the number of cells in a selected range that contain a specific type of data. (=count)
  • Max: Max is the function of finding the largest or maximum number in a given list of values. (=max)
  • Min: Min is the function of finding the smallest or minimum number in a given list of values. (=min)
  • Sum: Sum is the function of adding numbers in a spreadsheet. (=sum)

Play the interactive Quizlet Game: Direct Link

STEPS for Using a Formula to Add a Column

Using directions found in Using a Formula to Add a Column PDF, complete the following:

Step 1 - Create an addition formula to add up the total invitees start with the = symbol, followed by SUM and an open parent (then drag down across the cells and a closed parents ) and hit enter.  Your formula should look like =SUM(B3:B7) where the : indicates including all the cells between B3 and B7.

Step 2 - Create an addition formula to find total attending in the next column in a similar way. Note: after you enter the formula, click on Return or Enter, and the total will appear instead of the formula.

Q3Sum formula

Step 3 - Make sure that your formulas work.

Step 4 - How to Show Formulas:

  • Google Sheets: Select the View menu and Show formulas. Then take a screenshot.
    Screenshot of a Google spreadsheet showing the menu with View drop down that shows a check by Show Formula


  • Microsoft Excel: Select the Formulas Menu and select Show Formulas.Screenshot showing the Formulas menu selected and the Show Formulas icon.

Step 5 - Save your screenshot with one of the formulas showing.

Step 6 - Return to normal View to hide the formulas

Step 7 - Check with your teacher to see how they want you to submit or share this document.

Google has an Explore feature (2021) where you can ask questions about your data. It can show graphs it suggests to you, total things up, find the largest or smallest, and show you the formula or a chart.

The Explore icon is found on the bottom right area of your sheet. It looks like this:

Icon for Explore that looks like a four pointed star found at the lower right of the spreadsheet. Ask a question in the box labeled "Ask about this data"

Here are some examples using the Party Planner spreadsheet showing the Questions asked and screenshots of the answers.

Google Explore Answers to Questions posed
Question Typed into Explore: Results

Question: What is the total # Attending?


Google explore shows an answer of 34


NOTE: You must use the name of something you are asking about such at #Attending that is in a cell.

Screenshot of Google Answer with total

Action: Then Click on the Formula to see the formula


Google answer shows the formula to get the sum of the #Attending

Screenshot of Google Explore Answer showing Fx=SUM(c2:c8)

Question: Names of the #Invited?

Google answer shows the names and number invited for each named group.

Try clicking on the Formula and then the Chart to discover more.

Shows list of names invited, a choice to see the formula or a chart.


Explore with your own data!

MITECS  Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

1. Empowered Learner
d. Understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies

3. Knowledge Constructor
c. Curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions

5. Computational Thinker
b. Collect data or identify relevant data sets, use digital tools to analyze them, and represent data in various ways to facilitate problem-solving and decision-making
d. Understands how automation works and use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions