How to Insert a Square Root in Excel

Written by bryan keythman
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How to Insert a Square Root in Excel
Calculate a square root manually in Excel or with the SQRT function. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Finding the square root of a number is one of the many math calculations you can perform in Microsoft Excel. You can use Excel's built-in square root function or enter the square root of a number manually. Because there is no square root sign to enter a square root manually, you can enter the square root of a number as a number to the 1/2 power, which is equivalent to the square root of a number. Make sure the number of which you want to calculate the square root is positive, or Excel will return a "#NUM!" error message.

Skill level:
Easy

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Instructions

    Using the Square Root Function

  1. 1

    Click in cell A1 in an Excel worksheet.

  2. 2

    Type a number of which you want to calculate the square root and press "Enter." For example, type "4" and press "Enter."

  3. 3

    Click in cell A2.

  4. 4

    Type "=" and the square root function, which uses the following format: SQRT(number). Include the cell that contains the number of which you want to find the square root in the "number" portion of the function. Press "Enter" when you are done typing. For example, type "=SQRT(A1)" and press "Enter." This returns "2" in cell A2, which is the square root of 4.

    Inputting Square Root Manually

  1. 1

    Click in cell A3 in an Excel worksheet.

  2. 2

    Type a number of which you want to calculate the square root and press "Enter." For example, type "9" and press "Enter."

  3. 3

    Click in cell A4.

  4. 4

    Type "=," the cell that contains the number of which you want to find the square root, the caret symbol and "(1/2)." Press "Enter" when you are done typing. For example, type "=A3^(1/2)" and press "Enter." This returns "3" in cell A4, which is the square root of 9.

Tips and warnings

  • You can type the number of which you want to find the square root directly into the square root function or the manual calculation instead of typing the cell that contains the number.
  • You can find the square root of an absolute value of a negative number by using the absolute value function. Nest, or embed, the absolute value function, which is ABS(number), into the "number" portion of the square root function or the number portion of the manual calculation, and include the negative number in the "number" portion the ABS function. For example, to find the square root of the absolute value of -4, type "=SQRT(ABS(-4))" into a cell in Excel.

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