List of Symbols in Excel Formula (and Their Meanings) - Compute Expert

List of Symbols in Excel Formula (and Their Meanings)


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In this tutorial, you will learn about the list of symbols in the excel formula that you can use.

There are many symbols you can use when you try to write a formula in excel. Each of them has its unique functions and you most probably need more than one symbol to complete your writing.

By knowing what are they and their functions, you should be better equipped to process data in excel using formulas. Therefore, master the excel formulas symbols by learning them from the list in this tutorial!

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List of Symbols in Excel Formula and Their Meanings

Here is a table that lists the symbols you can use in an excel formula. Each symbol is explained with its name, meaning, and formula writing example to help you understand them better.

SymbolNameMeaningFormula Writing Example
=EqualMarks the beginning of a formula writing=A1
Represents “equal to/the same as” in a logic condition=A1
+PlusAdds the number on the left with the number on the right=2+3
-MinusSubtracts the number on the left with the number on the right=7-1
*AsteriskMultiplies the number on the left with the number on the right=3*8
Represents a wildcard operator in criteria writing (any character in any amount)=COUNTIF( A2:A101, ”Jim*” )
/SlashDivides the number on the left with the number on the right=10/2
^CaretPowers the number on the left with the level of the number on the right=3^2
%PercentageMakes the number on its left side a percentage=100*10%
<Less thanRepresents “less than” in a logic condition=IF( A1<8, ”Less than 8”, ”At least 8” )
>More thanRepresents “more than” in a logic condition=IF( A1>8,”More than 8”,”Maximum 8” )
$DollarMake the row number or column letter on its right an absolute reference (won’t move when we copy the formula to other cells)=$B$1+A6
&AmpersandConcatenate the data on the left with the data on the right=A2&B2&C2
?QuestionRepresents a wildcard operator in criteria writing (any one character)=COUNTIF( A2:A101, ”Jack?” )
~TildeMakes the * or ? symbol literal in criteria writing=COUNTIF( A2:A101, ”Jack~*” )
,CommaSeparates one input and another (can be replaced by semicolon, depending on the excel settings)=SUM( 1,3,8 )
;SemicolonSeparates one input and another (can be replaced by comma, depending on the excel settings)=SUM( 1;3;8 )
:ColonRepresents “to” in a cell range writing (A1:B10 means A1 to B10 cell in the cell range)=SUM( A2:C2 )
""QuotationsBecomes a media to type a text input directly in a formula=IF( A2>70, "Pass", ”Fail” )
''ApostrophesBecomes a media to input a workbook and worksheet name reference if the name has spaces=‘Sheet1’!A1+A2
!ExclamationSeparates a sheet name reference with the cell/cell range coordinate reference=SUM( ‘Sheet1’!A2:C2 )
( )BracketsBecomes a media to give your formula inputs=SUM( C2:C26 )
Separates a certain calculation so it can run first=2*(5+3)
{ }Curly bracketsRepresents an array formula (a formula that produces an array result){=SUM( ABS( A2:A26 ) )}
[ ]Square bracketsBecomes a media to input a field name of a table=SUM( SalesData [Quantity] )


If a symbol has two meanings, then its actual meaning in your formula depends on the formula writing that you do.



How to Use the Symbols

To use the symbols you want, just begin typing a formula in one of your cells

Don’t forget to place an equal symbol (=) at the beginning of your formula writing. If you forget, then the symbols you type will become literal symbols.



Additional Note

Need to learn how to write a criterion with its symbols in a formula like COUNTIF or SUMIF? Check out this excel criterion writing guide in our COUNTIF tutorial if you need to. You should write them correctly so you won’t get a wrong result from your formula.



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