# How to use Arithmetic Operators in Excel

- Written by Puneet

Arithmetic Operators in Excel are used to perform basic mathematical calculations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. There are six major arithmetic operators that you can use to perform calculations.

2. Subtraction (-): Subtracts one number from another.
3. Multiplication (*): Multiplies numbers.
4. Division (/): Divides one number by another.
5. Percent (%): Apply Percentage.
6. Exponentiation (^): Raises a number to the power of an exponent.

As I have mentioned, each of these operators can perform a specific calculation. And in this tutorial, we will learn to use these operators.

In Excel, performing any calculation with these operators requires you to use (=) to start the formula. And to type these operators, you need to use the keys from your keyboard.

The addition operator in Excel is the plus sign (+). You use it to add two or more numbers together. For example, if you type =A1+B1 into a cell, Excel adds the values from A1 and B1. You can add as many numbers as you like by using more addition operators, like =A1+B1+C1. Below is an example:

``````=value1 + value2
=100 + 200``````

In the above example, we calculated a sum of 100 and 200 using the (+) in between. And in the same way, you can use cell reference as well.

## 2. Subtraction (-)

The subtraction operator in Excel is the minus sign (-). It lets you take deduct a number from another. For example, if you write =A2-A1 in a cell, Excel will subtract the values in B1 from the number in A1. This is useful for finding differences, like how much budget is left or how sales targets were missed.

In the above example, you have the formula to minus A1 cell’s value from the A2 cell’s value. But you can also use the direct input values.

## 3. Multiplication (*)

The multiplication operator in Excel is the asterisk (). You use it to multiply numbers together. For example, if you type =A1*A2 into a cell, Excel multiplies the A1 by the number in B1. Just place the asterisk between any two numbers you need to multiply. You can insert it using the key from your keyboard.

And here also, you can directly input the values within the formula.

``=100*20``

## 4. Division (/)

The division operator in Excel is the forward-slash (/). It’s used to divide one number by another. For instance, if you enter =A1/A2 in a cell, Excel divides the A1 by the number in A21. This is useful for calculating how many items fit into a package or the average cost per item. Just put the slash between the numbers you want to divide.

``=Dividend/Divisor``

And below when you enter the values directly into the formula.

## 5. Percentage (%)

You can convert a numeric value into a percentage with the percentage operator. When you enter a number in a cell, type the percentage operator using the key from your keyboard.

And if you want to calculate percentages, you can easily calculate them using the division and multiplication operators. To find a percentage, divide the part by the whole and multiply by 100.

For example, if you type =A1/B1*100 in a cell, Excel calculates what percentage A1 is of B1. It helps understand things like performance against goals or sales discounts. Just remember to multiply by 100 to get the rate.

## 6. Exponent (^)

The exponentiation operator in Excel is the caret (^). It can be used to raise a number to the power of another number. For example, if you type =A1^B1 in a cell, Excel calculates A1 raised to the power of B1. It is helpful for calculations like compound interest or squaring a number. Put the caret between the base number and the exponent.

You can use it to calculate the square root, square, cube root, etc.

## Order of Calculation in Excel with Airthmatic Operators

In Excel, the order in which calculations are performed with arithmetic operators follows a specific set of rules, known as the order of operations. It is similar to standard mathematical principles.

1. Parentheses: Calculations enclosed in parentheses are calculated first. It allows you to control and change the natural calculation order by grouping operations that should be performed first.
2. Exponents: The next calculation order is Exponentiation (using the ^ caret operator).
3. Multiplication and Division: These operations are calculated next. Excel handles these from left to right as they appear in the formula, regardless of the operation. For example, in the formula =10 / 2 * 5, Excel divides 10 by 2 and then multiplies the result by 5.
4. Addition and Subtraction: In the end, addition and subtraction are performed. Like multiplication and division, these are also processed from left to right.

## Cell References or Hard Values

You can use either cell references or hard values when performing calculations with arithmetic operators.

Using cell references means you point to the cell where the data is stored, like =A1+B1. This way, if the data in A1 or B1 changes, the result of your formula automatically updates.

On the other hand, using hard values means typing the actual numbers into your formulas, like =10+20. This method keeps the result static, meaning you must manually update the formula if the numbers need to change.

## Related Formulas

Last Updated: May 14, 2024