
When solving equations or constructing formulas in a
spreadsheet like Microsoft Excel, you need to ensure that the equation
or formula is solved in the correct order. If the formula or
equation is not solved in the correct order, you may find the result
you get, is not the result you were looking for.
Worse still this can result in a miscalculation that
may even cost you money, something that no business can afford in the
competitive market our modern companies trade in.
I have found during the years I have taught Microsoft
Excel that a large percentage of people do not understand how to solve
long mathematical equations correctly.
This page is dedicated to helping people to learn the
skills required to create and test formulas in a spreadsheet like
Excel. The rules are as follows. Note: you can test
these out in Excel by, SELECTING a blank cell, then PRESS
= (equals) on the keyboard followed by the equation. PRESS
the Enter key on the keyboard or CLICK the OK button in Excel to
accept your calculation (formula). 




B 
Brackets 

O 
Of 

D 
Division 

M 
Multiplication 

A 
Addition 

S 
Subtraction 




B 
Brackets 

E 
Exponent 

M 
Multiplication & Division 

A 
Addition & Subtraction 




B 
Brackets 

E 
Exponent 

D 
Division 

M 
Multiplication 

A 
Addition 

S 
Subtraction 







Parts of an equation enclosed in 'Brackets' must
be solved first. There are no exceptions to this rule.
For Example; (5 + 3) * 7 = 56, whereas 5 + 3 * 7 = 26.

Any mathematical 'Of' or 'Exponent' as indicated
by the acronym BEMA must be solved next. There are no
exceptions to this rule. Most computer programs like Microsoft
Excel do not have a mathematical 'Of', so you can ignore the 'Of'.

Next, the parts of the equation that contain
'Division' and 'Multiplication' are calculated.
For example; 3 + 9  2 * 4 + 5 = 3 + 9  8 + 5
Where division and multiplication follow one another, then
regardless of their order that part of the equation is solved left
to right.
For example; 3 + 9  2 * 6 / 4 + 5 = 3 + 9  3 + 5
The correct order is 2 * 6 = 12 then 12 / 4 = 3 even though 6 / 4 =
1.5 and 1.5 * 2 = 3. You will find it very important to get
this order correct when doing addition and subtraction.

Last but not least, the parts of the equation
that contain 'Addition' and 'Subtraction' should be calculated.
As with division and multiplication, where addition and subtraction
follow one and other, then regardless of their order that part of
the equation is solved left to right.
For example; 3 + 9  8 + 5 = 12  8 + 5, not 12  13.
Note the difference as: 12  8 = 4, and 4 + 5 = 9, but 12  13 = 1
A totally different answer.
Obey these simple rules, and your formulas in Excel
will always calculate the correct answer, and you will be able check
that your formulas are correct.
To go to the BODMAS
exercises, click here.
