The Order of Operations in Excel Formulas
Related Tutorials: Excel Math - How to Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide in Excel
Excel has a number of mathematical operators that are used to carry out basic mathematical operations such as addition and subtraction in Excel formulas.
Since Excel permits the use of more than one operator per formula it is possible to create formulas to carry out quite complex calculations.
If more than one operator is used in a formula however, Excel needs to know the order in which the mathematical operations are to be carried out.
To keep it clear how it is to evaluate formulas containing multiple operators Excel follows a set Order of Operations.
The Order of Operations is:
- Brackets "( ) "
An easy way to remember this is to use the acronym formed from the first letter of each word in the order of operations:
How the Order of Operations Works
- Any operation(s) contained in round brackets will be carried out first.
- Second, any calculations involving exponents will occur.
- 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 formula.
- The same goes for the next two operations – addition and subtraction. They are considered equal in the order of operations. Whichever one appears first in an equation, either addition or subtraction is the operation carried out first.
Changing the Order of Operations in Excel Formulas
Since round brackets are first in the list, it is quite easy to change the order in which mathematical operations are carried out simply by adding brackets around those operations we want to occur first.
The step by step examples on the next page cover how to change the order of operations using brackets.