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Google Sheets Recursive Formula (How to Use It in 2024)

May 8, 2024

Google Sheets Recursive Formula

A recursive formula in Google Sheets is a formula that refers back to its own value in a previous cell or calculation to compute the next value in a sequence. This type of formula is useful for calculations that require the previous result to determine the next one, such as calculating compound interest, Fibonacci sequences, or running totals.

How to Use the Recursive Formula in Google Sheets

Follow the steps below to use the recursive formula in Google Sheets. 

1. Input Daily Sales Data

Input the daily sales data in column B, starting from cell B2. This will be your starting point for the recursive formula.

google sheets recursive formula

2. Enter the First Day's Sales as Initial Running Total 

In cell C2, input the first value for your running total, which corresponds to the first day's sales. Simply enter =B2.

3. Apply Recursive Formula to Calculate Running Total Starting in Cell C3

Move to cell C3 and enter the formula that calculates the running total by adding the current day's sales to the previous total. The formula is =C2+B3. This step begins the recursive process.

4. Extend Recursive Formula to Remaining Cells 

Click on cell C3 to see the small square dot at its bottom right corner. Drag this dot down to apply the formula to the remaining cells in column C.

5. Review to Ensure Accuracy of Calculated Running Totals

Verify the calculated running totals in column C to ensure accuracy. Each cell should reflect the cumulative sales up to that date.

6. Modify Dataset or Formula as Needed for Further Experimentation

Adjust the dataset in column B or modify the formula in column C as needed. The spreadsheet will automatically update the running totals based on your changes. Experimenting with different datasets or formulas can help deepen your understanding.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of how to use the Google Sheets recursive formula. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our article on how to shorten links in Google Sheets.

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