Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Squares, Powers, and Roots

Though use of Powers and Square Roots is not a frequent need in business, knowledge of how these functions can be used in Excel can be of particular value, especially in the Financial arena. Dedicated financial calculators, such as the Texas Instruments BA II Plus, are more accessible, of course, but some skills with powers and roots in Excel can come in handy (maybe even with your children’s homework…).

The following are some of these valuable features and some examples:

The Power Function
As with all of the functions we are discussing this week, the Power Function works well with directly inserted numbers or cell references, and adds more flexibility than using the caret symbol (^) to raise a value to a power.

The syntax of the Power function is quite simple. If you wish to raise 21 to the third power (resulting in 15,625), you would use the following:

=POWER( 25, 3 )

The POWER function also allows you to raise a value to a Fractional power. Let’s say you with to raise 25 to the power of 1/3:

=POWER( 25, 1/3 ) This would give you a result of approximately 2.92

Square Roots
The syntax of the Square Root function is also not terribly challenging. If you wish to find the Square Root of 25, you would use the following:

=SQRT( 25 ) This, of course, produces a value of 5.

SQRT cannot handle negative numbers (not surprising), but you can work around that annoyance by using the Absolute function as follows:

=SQRT( ABS( -25 )) Once again, the result is a value of 5.

Power and Square Root.  You may not have immediate need for these functions in Excel, but they are good to know should the need ever arise.


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