Quick, clean, and to the point

How to use exponents in a formula

Let's look at how to use exponents in Excel. Exponents are entered using the caret symbol which is above the number 6 on the keyboard. For example, the formula for 3 squared is entered as = 3 ^ 2.

Let's take a look.

Like previous examples, we have a simple worksheet that highlights several cell references. Following the instructions in the table, let's create the formulas we need to use exponents.

The first formula doesn't use any cell references. For 3 squared, we input = 3 ^ 2  which gives us 9.

Excel doesn't care about white space in formulas, so feel free to add space for better readability.

The second example is C9 cubed. For that, we enter = C9 ^ 3 which gives us 27.

Next, we have F7 to the power of D6 which translates to F7 ^ D6.

Because D6 is negative one, we get the inverse of F7, or one fourth.

In the last example, we need to raise H8 to the power of H11. This is H8 ^ H11.

When using exponents, you may see a VALUE error if any of the cells contain text. Blank values can cause a "divide by zero" error when the exponent is negative.

Dave Bruns

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