Using Parentheses in Excel

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How to use parentheses in Excel in order to create more powerful formulas and functions.

Sections:

Basics of Parentheses

Using Parentheses with Logical Comparison Operators

Using Parentheses with Functions

Notes

Basics of Parentheses

When performing calculations or doing anything in a formula or function or operation in Excel, what is inside parentheses will always be evaluated first.

If there are multiple parentheses in the same formula, they will be evaluated left-to-right.

If there are parentheses inside of parentheses, they will be evaluated inside-out, where the content inside the inner most parentheses is evaluated first, then the content in the next level of parentheses and so on until the last level of outer parentheses is reached.

Example:

Using Parentheses with Logical Comparison Operators

You can use parentheses any time you need to group together a set of numbers, formulas, or functions, including when using comparison operators.  Nothing changes except that the formulas will look more complex.

Example:

These are the same examples from the "Basic" section except, this time, there are logical comparison operators inside the formulas.  A7 uses the > sign; A8 uses the <> sign; A9 uses the <=.

Don't forget that logical comparisons, such as these only ever output TRUE or FALSE, so don't let that confuse you.

Using Parentheses with Functions

You can put functions within parenthesis just like you can with numbers.

Example:

It starts to get quite confusing the more parentheses you add and the more complex it becomes but, just remember how Excel calculates this, inside-out, and follow that in your mind to build the correct structure.

Notes

Parentheses allow you to group elements in a cell.  This allows you to create more complex and more powerful formulas.  You can use them with basic formulas, logical operators, functions, anything.  All they do is group data, which changes the order in which that data is processed and calculated.

Make sure to download the spreadsheet that accompanies this tutorial so you can see the above examples in Excel.


Downloadable Files: Excel File

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