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Since the main purpose of a spreadsheet is to perform calculations it is appropriate that we consider just how this is done.

In general, a cell of a spreadsheet can contain one of three things:

- A number
- Text
- A formula

All calculations are done using formulas. A formula occurs whenever a cell has contents that begin with an equals sign, which is the signal to Calc that it needs to perform a calculation. For instance, if a cell contains "A3+B3", Calc would examine this, see the letters and the plus sign, and decide that the contents of the cell were a text string. After all, it cannot be a pure number with those other things there. But place an equals sign in front, so that the contents now read "=A3+B3" and Calc knows that this is formula, and will perform the calculation. And one of the best ways to interact with a cell that contains a formula is to use the Formula Bar, which normally appears just above the cells of the spreadsheet proper:

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