Why all the zeros and brackets?

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New Contributor

Hello,

I have inherited a budget forecasting spreadsheet at work and the last row calculates net profit by taking net overhead (in this case cell H118) away from net income (H13) for any given month. I use Excel the way Dad's dance; simply and badly. I would therefore just go =sum(H13-H116).

 

Can anyone tell me why the formula in the spreadsheet I inherited might be =(0+(H13)+(0))-(0+(H118))

 

Grateful to anyone who can answer.

3 Replies

@JonBarden 

 

Perhaps because the person who wrote that spreadsheet was using Excel the way grand-dads dance.

 

In any event, you too are making it more complicated than it needs to be. Given the cell references you cite, a simple =H13-H118 would suffice.

 

Now, there are ways to make it even more foolproof, but that would require some fancier dance steps than you might be up to. If you are interested, and willing, post a copy of the spreadsheet--just making sure that the posted copy does not contain any confidential or private information.

Thank you very much @mathetes

 

Unfortunately I can't post the spreadsheet as it contains all our financial information.

 

I will do as you say and revert to the simple formula.

 

It would be great to know though if all those zeros and brackets serve any purpose at all.

 

Thanks again.   

@JonBarden 

 

It would be great to know though if all those zeros and brackets serve any purpose at all.

 

My guess is that there were at one time other cell references that were in there--subtotals of certain categories, perhaps--and whoever was "managing" the spreadsheet at the time wanted to keep a record sort of as placeholders....but there is no reason to keep them. Adding or subtracting zero, with our without the brackets, has, well, zero effect.