This Ready Reference article lists and describes the operators used in Excel worksheet expressions, their order of precedence in calculation and the types of data returned by each operator in an expression.

Operator evaluation proceeds from left to right in an expression, except that evaluation of operators with a higher precedence to the right of the current operator occurs before those lower precedence operators to their left.

The table below sets out a simple list of the operators and their precedence.  For more detail on the operators, how they are evaluated, the value types they work on and the errors they return, refer to the Ready Reference 4 article.

The number in the "Precedence" column below indicates relative precedence in calculation.  Entries with the same number have equal precedence in calculation.

PrecedenceOperation Operator SymbolSymbol Name Resul TypeRequired on Left Required on Right
 Reference Operators
8Range :Colon ReferenceReference Reference
8Intersection  Space ReferenceReference Reference
8Union ,Comma ReferenceReference Reference
8Implicit Intersection @At SIgn Referencenone Reference
8Spill Range #Hash or Pound ReferenceReference none
 Numeric Operators
7Unary Negation -Minus Sign or Hyphen Numbernone Number
6Percentage %Percentage sign NumberNumber none
5Expponent ^Caret NumberNumber Number
4Multiplication *Asterisk NumberNumber Number
4Division /Slash NumberNumber Number
3Addition +Plus Sign NumberNumber Number
3Subtraction -Minus Sign or Hypen NumberNumber Number
 Text Operator
2Concatentation &Ampersand Text StringText String Text String
 Comparison Operators
1Equality =Equal Sign LogicalAny Any
1Inequality <>Left and Right Angle Brackets) LogicalAny Any
1Less Than <Left Angle Bracket) LogicalAny Any
1Less Than or Equal To <=Left Angle Bracket and Equal Sign) LogicalAny Any
1Greater Than >Right Angle Bracket) LogicalAny Any
1Greater Than or Equal To >=Right Angle Bracket and Equal Sign) LogicalAny Any

 

Parentheses in Expressions

Parentheses can be used within an expression to force the evaluation of an expression with lower precedence, before operators with higher precedecnce are evaluated.
For example, the expression =2+1*3 will retunr 5.  The expression =(2+1)*3 returns 9.

Checking Evaluation Order

If you are ever uncertain of how Excel approaches a calculation, you can use the Evaluate Formula tool from the Formulas ribbon tab (not currently available on the Mac version of Excel) to execute an expression step by step and see the order in which calculations are resolved.