About calculation operators

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Operators specify the type of calculation that you want to perform on the elements of a formula. Lists support three different types of calculation operators: arithmetic, comparison, and text.

Types of operators

Arithmetic operators To perform basic mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, or multiplication; combine numbers; and produce numeric results, use the following arithmetic operators.

Arithmetic operator

Meaning (Example)

+ (plus sign)

Addition (3+3)

(minus sign)

Subtraction (31)
Negation (1)

* (asterisk)

Multiplication (3*3)

/ (forward slash)

Division (3/3)

% (percent sign)

Percent (20%)

^ (caret)

Exponentiation (3^2)

Comparison operators You can compare two values with the following operators. When two values are compared by using these operators, the result is a logical value of Yes or No.

Comparison operator

Meaning (Example)

= (equal sign)

Equal to (A=B)

> (greater than sign)

Greater than (A>B)

< (less than sign)

Less than (A<B)

>= (greater than or equal to sign)

Greater than or equal to (A>=B)

<= (less than or equal to sign)

Less than or equal to (A<=B)

<> (not equal to sign)

Not equal to (A<>B)

Text concatenation operator Use the ampersand (&) to join, or concatenate, one or more text strings to produce a single piece of text.

Text operator

Meaning (Example)

& (ampersand)

Connects, or concatenates, two values to produce one continuous text value ("North"&"wind")

The order in which a list performs operations in a formula

Formulas calculate values in a specific order. A list formula might begin with an equal sign (=). Following the equal sign are the elements to be calculated (the operands), which are separated by calculation operators. Lists calculate the formula from left to right, according to a specific order for each operator in the formula.

Operator precedence

If you combine several operators in a single formula, lists perform the operations in the order shown in the following table. If a formula contains operators with the same precedence for example, if a formula contains both a multiplication and division operator lists evaluate the operators from left to right.




Negation (as in 1)





* and /

Multiplication and division

+ and

Addition and subtraction


Connects two strings of text (concatenation)

= < > <= >= <>


Use of parentheses

To change the order of evaluation, enclose in parentheses the part of the formula to be calculated first. For example, the following formula produces 11 because a list calculates multiplication before addition. The formula multiplies 2 by 3 and then adds 5 to the result.


In contrast, if you use parentheses to change the syntax, the list adds 5 and 2 together and then multiplies the result by 3 to produce 21.


In the example below, the parentheses around the first part of the formula force the list to calculate [Cost]+25 first and then divide the result by the sum of the values in columns EC1 and EC2.