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Excel For Noobs Tutorial: Order of Operation

Surprisingly most people do not know the order of operation when it comes to simple arithmetic. The order of operation is important for anyone to know, especially for Excel users because many manually entered formulas are going to require parenthesis.

The acronym often used to help people remember the order of operation is PEDMAS which stands for: Parenthesis, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction

This means following:

Rule 1: Perform all formulas inside parenthesis first.
Rule 2: After solving for formulas inside parenthesis you then solve for all exponents.
Rule 3: After exponents are solved then solve for Division and Multiplication.
Rule 4: Finally solve for addition and subtraction.

Example 1

Solve for: 5 + 2 x 2

First solve the multiplication problem

5+4

Example 2

Solve for (5 x 3 + 5)^2 – (2+4/2)/4

First we will solve the equation inside the parenthesis. Remember that multiplication is solved before addition.

(15+5)^2 – (2+2)/4

We have solved the division and multiplication parts of the equation inside the parenthesis. Now we will finish solving the equations inside the parenthesis.

(20)^2 – (4)/4

Now that we have finally completed the parenthesis part of the equation, we will solve for the exponential part of the equation.

400-(4)/4

Now that the parenthesis and exponential parts of the equation are solved we will solve for any remaining division or multiplication parts of the equation.

400 – 1

Finally we will solve the equation by tackling any remaining addition or subtraction parts of the equation.