Making a Calculator in Excel

Excel is best known as a spreadsheet program used mainly for business records and transactions.  Sounds kind of boring so far, but we can also have some fun with it.  In this tutorial we are going to make a calculator. The purpose of this project is not so much to create a calculator, but to explore some of the functions of Excel that a lot of people don't use. It will also help you to gain some familiarity with the software.

Open Excel and create a new project (workbook) and name it <your_name_calculator> or something suitable and save it to your project folder.

Select Columns A to G as shown.

While still selected, right-click and choose Column Width... and type a column width of 15.

Select Rows from 1 to 13 and Right-Click.

Choose a Row Height of 32.

Select Column H as shown then hold down the Ctrl + Shift keys. While depressing the keys hit the Right Arrow key. This will select all the columns from letter I all the way to the right.

With the columns still selected, Right-click and choose Hide from the popup window to hide all the columns that you won't be using for this project.

Select Row 14.

Hold down Ctrl + Shift then hit the Down arrow key. This will select all the rows from 14 to 1048576.

Right-click and select Hide from the popup window.

Click and drag to select all the cells.

Select the Paint Bucket tool in the Home menu ribbon bar and choose a color for the background of your calculator.

Select the following cells and change the fill color to white or another light color. These will be your data entry cells:

B4, D4, F4

B6, D6, F6

B8, D8, F8

B10, D10, F10

B12, F12


Hold down the Shift Key to select multiple cells.

Click and drag to select Cells B2 to F2.

Right-Click and select Format Cells.

In the window that opens choose Alignment.

Check Merge Cells and change the Horizontal and Vertical Alignments to Center.

In the merged cells give your calculator a name as shown.

In the following cells type these mathematical operands:

  • in C4 type +
  • in C6 type -
  • in C8 type x
  • in C10 type (go to Insert Symbol)
  • in C12 type x2 (right-click, Format Cells, and choose superscript)

Choose a larger Font size for these symbols.

Select each of the following cells and type the following into the Formula Bar:
  • in F4 type =B4+D4

  • in F6 type =B6-D6

  • in F8 type =B8*D8

  • in F10 type =B10 / D10

  • in F12 type =B12*B12

It is important to hit Enter after entering formula in each cell.  If you just click on another cell, that cell's name will be added to your formula.

Add the equals signs for a finishing touch.

You should now have a working formula.  Type the numbers into the white cells then hit the Enter Key to calculate.