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How to do basic mathematical computations (in Excel)

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How do we write the most common mathematical operations in a given piece of software? For example, how do we write multiplication, or exponentiation, or logarithms, in Python vs. R vs. Excel, and so on?


Each of the formulas shown on the right of the table below is valid code for use in Excel formulas, in cells in a worksheet.

Mathematical notation Excel notation Example
$x+y$ x+y =A1+B1
$x-y$ x-y =A1-B1
$xy$ x*y =A1*B1
$\frac xy$ x/y =A1/B1
$x^y$ x^y =A1^B1
$\vert x\vert$ ABS(x) =ABS(A1)
$\ln x$ LN(x) =LN(A1)
$\log_a b$ LOG(b,a) =LOG(A1,B1)
$e^x$ EXP(x) =EXP(A1)
$\pi$ PI() =PI()
$\sin x$ SIN(x) =SIN(A1)
$\sin^{-1} x$ ASIN(x) =ASIN(A1)
$\sqrt x$ SQRT(x) =SQRT(A1)

Other trigonometric functions are also available besides just SIN, including COS, TAN, etc.

Content last modified on 24 July 2023.

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Contributed by Nathan Carter (