Formulas can contain several values, such as 81 and 3.5; cell references, such as B5 and C1:D11; operators, such as * (multiplication) and + (addition); and functions, such as SUM and AVERAGE. When you combine several operations and functions into a single formula, Excel performs the operations in a predetermined order, known as the order of operations.

When a formula contains several operators with the *same* precedence, Excel calculates the formula from left to right. You can change the order by enclosing the part of the formula you want Excel to calculate first in parentheses.

### How Excel Performs the Order of Operations

The table below explains the order in which Excel performs calculations in a formula. A mnemonic device you can use to remember the order of operations is ‘Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally’.

Operation | Example | Memory Device |
---|---|---|

Parentheses |
10 + (6-2) / 2^2 |
Please |

Exponents |
10 + 4 / 2^2 |
Excuse |

Multiplication and Division |
10 + 4/4 |
My Dear |

Addition and Subtraction |
10 + 1 |
Aunt Sally |

Result |
11 |