Algebraic Problem-Solving Using Spreadsheets:

Formulas on a Spreadsheet

by Margaret Sinclair

Back to Algebraic Problem-Solving using Spreadsheets || Math Units: Contents

The aims of this exercise are:

Formulas can be entered in a spreadsheet using the cells as variables.

Do the following example:

A formula for the perimeter of this rectangle is:

You can enter this formula in the spreadsheet. Use the first column for the variable x and the second column for the perimeter:

If you haven't done so already, set your Web browser to use ClarisWorks as a helper application for these examples. Then open this spreadsheet to practice entering formulas.

If you use Microsoft Excel, open this spreadsheet.

If you want to know when the perimeter will be 60 you can look at the perimeter column and read the x value beside 60. (It should say 4.)


  1. The cost of a banquet is 35N+400 (N is the number of people invited.)

    Use a spreadsheet to find out how many people will be at the banquet if the total cost is $1520.

  2. The cost of renting a car is 16.50D+150 (D is the number of days you kept the car.)

    Use a spreadsheet to find out how many days you kept the car if the bill was $216.

1. Formulas on a Spreadsheet 3. Spreadsheet problems
2. Setting up a problem on a spreadsheet 4. Follow-up in the classroom

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Margaret Sinclair