Excel training basics – BODMAS…do you remember this from Excel?

Excel training basics – the BODMAS ‘concept’

Excel training basics BODMAS: Excel iconBODMAS. The word that tends to divide a room of people on one of our Excel courses up in to one of four groups:

  1. Have no idea what we are talking about and never heard of BODMAS
  2. Vaguely remember being told about it and learning about it at school but haven’t heard about it since
  3. Remember it and are ok about it
  4. Remember it clearly, didn’t like it then, don’t like it now and bolt for the door!

Ok so the bolting for the door doesn’t happen that often (thankfully!), people who fall in to the 4th group tend to go quiet and try and hide in their seats so that they aren’t asked a question on it!

So why does this small and seemingly harmless word sometime invoke such a strong reaction in some people?

The reason for this is that BODMAS originates in the Algebra section of Maths days back in school (now this is where people are more likely to bolt for the door, after the word Algebra has been spoken!). Not everyone enjoyed Maths at school and so this is sometimes why not everyone likes the BODMAS topic in our Excel courses.

But it isn’t that bad!



BODMAS is just an order of precedence built in to Excel that is used when calculations are being worked out in a Spreadsheet. The order goes as follows:

BO – Brackets Override
D – Division
M – Multiplication
A – Addition
S – Subtraction

When a calculation is typed in to a cell, Excel will start at the top of this ‘list’ and work its way down, doing whichever symbol comes first before moving to the next.

To help explain this a bit more, we have created a spreadsheet with a few calculations in it explaining each time why it has done what it has.

Please click here to save on to your computer and give it a go.


We hope this has helped you understand the Excel training basics BODMAS concept a bit more! Why not take a look at our previous hint and tip on Excel names?