News this week on BODMAS in Excel…do you know what it means?

BODMAS in Excel

This week was a first for John on a Basic Excel training session he delivered for 6 people in Hereford. You may know the concept of BODMAS from your days back at school in the maths classroom, which dictates the order in which calculations are performed in an Excel formula. What BODMAS stands for is laid out below:

BO – Brackets Over   ( )

D – Division   /

M – Multiplication   *

A – Addition   +

S – Subtraction   –

Understanding the concept

Even though it might not apply to your work on a daily basis, BODMAS is an important concept to know about in Excel. It is important to remember that Excel is a program and so it carries out calculations based on how it was programmed to do so. This is where BODMAS comes in to place. For example take a look at the calculation below:

A1 = 10  B1 = 5  C1 = 4           =A1+B1*C1

In this example, I am trying to do a calculation to add A1 to B1 and then times it by C1, so in that scenario I would expect the answer to be 60. However if you put that calculation in to Excel, it would produce the answer as 30! The reason? BODMAS! The calculation has done B1*C1 first because multiplication comes above addition (look above), then it has added A1.

To make the calculation work the way we wanted to originally, we would have to amend it like so:  =(A1+B1)*C1   This would now work as brackets are above everything else and so A1 would be added to B1 first!

Well, John set an exercise to test out the individual’s understanding of this concept before he got round to explaining how it works and on Wednesday 10th November all 6 individuals got it correct. They were from Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Ukraine.  John was most impressed as it was the first time the whole class had given him the right answer in 21 years of training!

Excel courses

If you want to learn about BODMAS in Excel as well as other topics found in the package, why not take a look at our Agendas for our Excel courses on the website here. We are happy to help, contact us for more information.