The mathematical operators used in Excel formulas are similar to the ones used in math class.
- Subtraction - minus sign ( - )
- Addition - plus sign ( + )
- Division - forward slash ( / )
- Multiplication - asterisk (* )
- Exponentiation - caret (^ )
Order of Operations
If more than one operator is used in a formula, there is a specific order that Excel will follow to perform these mathematical operations. This order of operations can be changed by adding brackets to the equation. An easy way to remember the order of operations is to use the acronym:
The Order of Operations is:
How the Order of Operations Works
Any operation(s) contained in brackets will be carried out first followed by any exponents.
After that, Excel considers division or multiplication operations to be of equal importance, and carries out these operations in the order they occur left to right in the equation.
The same goes for the next two operations – addition and subtraction. They are considered equal in the order of operations. Which ever one appears first in an equation, either addition or subtraction, is the operation carried out first.