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Excel For Noobs Tutorial: Order of Operations Operator Precedence (PEDMAS)
Excel Operator Precedence
When using formulas you must understand the order of operations. In excel this would mean that certain operators take precedence over other operators. Below is a table that lists the operators in order of how they will be performed by Excel.
 Exponentiation (^): Order = 1
 Multiplication (*): Order = 2
 Division (/): Order = 2
 Addition (+): Order = 3
 Subtraction ():Order = 3
 Concatenation (&):Order = 4
 Equal to (=): Order = 5
 Less than (<): Order = 5
 Greater than (>): Order = 5
Multiplication and division have the same precedence. You could perform multiplication or division first and it wouldn’t change the result of the formula. The same rule applies for addition and subtraction.
Any formula within parenthesis takes priority over all other parts of the formula. Even if is not absolutely necessary to use parenthesis it can still be useful as it makes it easier to organize and read formulas. See the examples below.
If the previous formula was performed without the parenthesis it would be performed as shown below.
As just mentioned, it is useful to use parenthesis even when they are not absolutely necessary. Below is an example of a formula with 5 sets of parenthesis of which 4 sets are nested within the 5th set.
=((A1*B1)+(A2*B2)+(A3*B3)+(A4*B4))*C1
This formula would return the same result if we were to remove all but the outside parenthesis, but the parenthesis make the formula much easier to read and understand.
=(A1*B1+A2*B2+A3*B3+A4*B4)*C1
PEDMAS
There is an acronym that seems to really help people remember the order of operations. The acronym is PEDMAS which stands for Parenthesis, Exponentiation, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.
Excel Formula Error
If you make a mistake by forgetting or misplacing a parenthesis, Excel will return an error with a proposed correction. The error reads "Microsoft Excel found an error in the formula you entered. Do you want to accept the correction proposed below?" It may be tempting to simply accept the proposed formulas but be careful because it might not be the correct formula. If you get this error be sure to check your formula for mistakes and correct it manually.
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