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When you assign a formula to a simple column reference like ‘`$3=`’, the
same formula is used in all fields of that column, with the following
very convenient exceptions: (i) If the table contains horizontal
separator hlines with rows above and below, everything before the
first such hline is considered part of the table *header* and is not
modified by column formulas. Therefore a header is mandatory when you
use column formulas and want to add hlines to group rows, like for
example to separate a total row at the bottom from the summand rows
above. (ii) Fields that already get a value from a field/range
formula are left alone by column formulas. These conditions make
column formulas very easy to use.

To assign a formula to a column, type it directly into any field in
the column, preceded by an equal sign, like ‘`=$1+$2`’. When you press
`TAB` or `RET` or `C-c C-c` with point
still in the field, the formula is stored as the formula for the
current column, evaluated and the current field replaced with the
result. If the field contains only ‘`=`’, the previously stored formula
for this column is used. For each column, Org only remembers the most
recently used formula. In the ‘`TBLFM`’ keyword, column formulas look
like ‘`$4=$1+$2`’. The left-hand side of a column formula can not be
the name of column, it must be the numeric column reference or ‘`$>`’.

Instead of typing an equation into the field, you may also use the following command:

`C-c =`(`org-table-eval-formula`

)-
Install a new formula for the current column and replace current field with the result of the formula. The command prompts for a formula, with default taken from the ‘

`TBLFM`’ keyword, applies it to the current field and stores it. With a numeric prefix argument, e.g.,`C-5 C-c =`, the command applies it to that many consecutive fields in the current column.

Next: Lookup functions, Previous: Field and range formulas, Up: The Spreadsheet [Contents][Index]