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Use Cases

Use Case: Recognizing a Formula

Formulas in spreadsheets can be hard to understand. Do you recognize the one in cell E6?

Formula in cell E6 A formula in cell E6

Let's ask Formula Forge for help. Select cell E6 and click the Get Formula button on Excel's Formulas ribbon to see a pane with three views of the formula in cell E6. The math view, which shows the formula as it might be typeset in a book, is particularly informative: it reveals that this formula is none other than the familiar quadratic formula taught in high school algebra.

Formula Forge pane The Formula Forge pane

Along with the math view are a text view and a tree view. The Formula Forge pane is not wide enough to display the entire tree view, so we click its left edge and drag it left to widen the pane.

The tree view The widened tree view

Now we can see the entire tree view. This view displays the elements that comprise the formula, according to the order in which they are evaluated, from the bottom up. The elements at the bottom are constants or references, and the elements higher up correspond to operators or functions.

To understand where an element in the tree view occurs in the entire formula, we can click that element to highlight it in all views. To find the smallest element in the tree view that contains a symbol in either the text view or the math view, we can click that symbol to highlight the containing element in all views. Formula Forge automatically synchronizes all three views when an action occurs in any one of those views.

Selection in the tree view Selecting an element