How to Type Exponents in Excel

Written by stephanie ellen
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How to Type Exponents in Excel
Exponents are superscript numbers to the right of a base. (Formule image by wally from

Exponentiation is a mathematical operation on two numbers. One number, called the base, is the number that is subject to repeated multiplication. A second number, called the exponent, determines how many times the base is multiplied by itself. For example, a base of 4 with an exponent of 3 means that 4 is multiplied by itself 3 times, as in 4 x 4 x 4. An exponent is normally shown as a superscript number to the right of the base, but there is a different way to type exponents in Excel.

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  1. 1

    Click on the cell where you want to type the exponent.

  2. 2

    Type the "=" sign. This sign informs Excel that you are entering a formula.

  3. 3

    Type the base number. For example, type "3."

  4. 4

    Type the "^" symbol, located on the 6 key on a standard keyboard.

  5. 5

    Type the exponent. For example, type "2."

  6. 6

    Press the "Enter" key. Excel will evaluate the exponent and return the result. In the above example, the result would be 9.

Tips and warnings

  • If you don't want Excel to calculate the result of your exponent, leave off the "=" at the beginning of the formula. For example, if you want to display the exponent 3^2 in a cell, type "3," then "^" and then "2."

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