Using calculation operators in Excel formulas

Operators specify the type of calculation that you want to perform on the elements of a formula. Excel follows general mathematical rules for calculations, which is Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, and Addition and Subtraction, or the acronym PEMDAS (Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally). Using parentheses allows you to change that calculation order.

Types of operators. There are four different types of calculation operators: arithmetic, comparison, text concatenation, and reference.

  • Arithmetic operators

    To perform basic mathematical operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division; combine numbers; and produce numeric results, use the following arithmetic operators.

    Arithmetic operator

    Meaning

    Example

    + (plus sign)

    Addition

    =3+3

    – (minus sign)

    Subtraction
    Negation

    =3–3
    =-3

    * (asterisk)

    Multiplication

    =3*3

    / (forward slash)

    Division

    =3/3

    % (percent sign)

    Percent

    30%

    ^ (caret)

    Exponentiation

    =3^3

  • Comparison operators

    You can compare two values with the following operators. When two values are compared by using these operators, the result is a logical value—either TRUE or FALSE.

    Comparison operator

    Meaning

    Example

    = (equal sign)

    Equal to

    =A1=B1

    > (greater than sign)

    Greater than

    =A1>B1

    < (less than sign)

    Less than

    =A1<B1

    >= (greater than or equal to sign)

    Greater than or equal to

    =A1>=B1

    <= (less than or equal to sign)

    Less than or equal to

    =A1<=B1

    <> (not equal to sign)

    Not equal to

    =A1<>B1

  • Text concatenation operator

    Use the ampersand (&) to concatenate (join) one or more text strings to produce a single piece of text.

    Text operator

    Meaning

    Example

    & (ampersand)

    Connects, or concatenates, two values to produce one continuous text value

    ="North"&"wind" results in "Northwind".
    Where A1 holds "Last name" and B1 holds "First name", =A1&", "&B1 results in "Last name, First name".

  • Reference operators

    Combine ranges of cells for calculations with the following operators.

    Reference operator

    Meaning

    Example

    : (colon)

    Range operator, which produces one reference to all the cells between two references, including the two references.

    B5:B15

    , (comma)

    Union operator, which combines multiple references into one reference

    =SUM(B5:B15,D5:D15)

    (space)

    Intersection operator, which produces one reference to cells common to the two references

    B7:D7 C6:C8

Expand your Office skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×