Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

If I have a cell in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that contains a fixed number, and I want to add another fixed number, is there an easy way to do that?

For example, cell A1 contains 23.4524, and I want to add 8.3 to that number, giving 31.7524.

I know I can faff around with "paste special", use a formula (so the cell content is actually =23.4524+8.3) or work it out in my head/with a calculator, but they all seem too heavyweight for what I'd expect to be a simple operation.

Update: What I'd hoped for was something along the lines of editing the cell to read 23.4524+8.3 then pressing a shortcut or function key to have Excel replace that with the calculated value.

That only requires F2, +, 8, ., 3, Enter, ???. No need to use multiple cells, move my hands from the home row, or launch a separate application.

The use case is trying to edit a bunch of cells that currently contain fixed values in an existing spreadsheet used for project tracking. I want to make different additions and subtractions to a bunch of different project estimates, so things like paste-special will work but are relatively slow, and while mental arithmetic is my current solution, it seems odd that it's necessary when I'm sat in front of a hulking great calculator.

<rant>I'm not expecting Excel to be psychic; I don't think I said anything to imply that. I think the speed with which I was hit with a -5 and had the question closed was shockingly aggressive and unwelcoming when a comment asking for clarification would have sufficed.</rant>

share|improve this question

closed as not a real question by slhck Oct 17 '12 at 8:35

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Mind control? You want Excel to add an arbitrary number to a cell but don't seem to want to do anything to tell it to do that nor what number to add. Strange. The simplest way to permanently change the number is probably putting 8.3 in a cell, copying it and using Paste Special > Add (I think this is what you mean by "faffing around"). To find out the result without changing the number put a formula in say B1 = A1+8.3. I have provided one possible answer below as well. –  AdamV Oct 16 '12 at 11:21
It rather LOOKS as though you are expecting Excel to by psychic! You'll need to 'tell` Excel about the 8.3 somehow, so why not enter it into A2 and then use AutoSum in A3? –  pnuts Oct 16 '12 at 11:22
-1, as both AdamV and pnuts have pointed out, if you're using Excel, you need to provide inputs for it to work. So, from your question I can infer that either you just need a calculator or you haven't provided enough information to give you a good answer. Please consider adding some more detail about what you're trying to accomplish. If you're doing a one-time addition than you're right Excel's not the right tool (see your calculator), if you're setting up for repeated calcs tell us more about that and we'll get you a good answer. –  dav Oct 16 '12 at 12:07
@David: Thank you for a constructive comment. I've updated the question, but in short I'm certainly not expecting Excel to be psychic, I'm just hoping for a solution that doesn't involve mental arithmetic (that's why I'm not doing this on paper!) and involves fewer key presses than I'm having to use at the moment. –  me_and Oct 17 '12 at 14:12
Not downvoted by me and I did suggest a solution that apart from keying 8.3 only involved two clicks! Personally I think -5 is fair for a low rep user but not suitable in your case. –  pnuts Oct 17 '12 at 16:20

1 Answer 1

Since you have rules out the three most likely ways to do this, I'll come up with a fourth:

Type 8.3 in a cell eg B1 Select cell A1 and B1 (use Ctrl+click if they are not adjacent) Look at the status bar to see the sum.

Your original value is preserved and you have not typed a formula or used a calculator.

Hope this is sufficiently "lightweight" to answer your question.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.