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How to Insert Sign in Excel Formula (Arithmetic, Logical and Misc.)

Excel keeps track of data and calculates to manipulate this data. In calculations, Excel uses various formulas and these formulas include different symbols or operators. In this tutorial, you will learn how to insert a sign in an Excel formula.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the following practice workbook that we have used to prepare this article.

How to Insert 3 Types of Sign in Excel Formula

For easy discussion, we have categorized the signs (that we can input in Excel formulas) into three categories. In the following sections, we will show ways how we can use them in building various Excel formulas for different purposes.

1. Insert Arithmetic Signs in Excel Formula

The most common signs that we use in Excel are the arithmetic operators: plus (+), minus (-), multiply (*), and divide (/).

  • Excel depicts the standard multiplication sign (x) by the asterisk (*) sign.
  • The standard division sign (÷) is demonstrated by the forward-slash (/) sign.
  • The caret sign (^) known as the exponential power sign raises the number to the power of another number.

The following image shows a calculation, where we are evaluating the area covered by the square in the image.

As their geometry suggests, the following formula will return the area: (a-b)2 = a2-2ab+b2

We have used both sides to generate an Excel formula for area, to show the use of *, ^, +, and -.

Formula 1:


Formula 2:


Both formulas return the same result.

Insert Arithmetic Signs in Excel Formula

Read More: How to Type Math Symbols in Excel (3 Easy Methods)

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2. Insert Signs as Logical Operators in Formula

MS Excel uses the following logical operators in Formula. When you use logical operators in Excel formula, it will return either TRUE or FALSE.

Signs Explanations Formula Examples
= Equal to =B4=C4
<> Not Equal to =B4<>C4
> Greater than =B4>C4
< Less than =B4<C4
>= Greater than or equal to =B4>=C4

The following screenshot shows an example of using logical operators in Excel formulas.

Formula we have used here is as follows:


Insert Signs as Logical Operators in Formula

Read More: Excel Formula Symbols Cheat Sheet (13 Cool Tips)

3. Other Signs

You can insert more signs in Excel formula, such as: : (colon), ! (exclamation mark), [] (third bracket), {} (second bracket for using array), & (ampersand symbol), etc.

Let’s see how and why to use them in formulas.

Curly Braces {} for Array Formula:

{}, curly braces are used in Excel formulas to denote an array and work with an array. In earlier Excel versions, you had to press CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to enable an array formula, and after that these braces would appear before and after the formula. The following screenshot will give an idea of using these operators.

Formula Used:


Curly Braces {} for Array Formula

$ (Dollar Sign), : (Colon), and Comma:

Look at the following formula.

=COUNTIF($B$5:$C$10, "Child")

In this formula, the dollar ($) sign is used before cell reference to fix them, the colon (:) is used to create a data range and the comma (,) is used to separate the function arguments.

$ (Dollar Sign), : (Colon), and , (Comma)

Ampersand (&) and Exclamation Mark (!):

In Excel, we use an ampersand (&) sign to concatenate strings in different cells. Again, an exclamation mark appears (or you can manually hard code it in the formula), when you use a cell reference from another worksheet.

Look at the following image and the formula below. You will get an idea of the way they are used.

='First Names'!B2&" "&Others!B5

Ampersand (&) and Exclamation Mark (!):

Third Brackets ([]):

You have to use third brackets when you are referencing an external workbook in Excel formula.

In the following calculation, we are adding values from an External workbook, named “Source.xlsx”, with the following formula:


Look that, a pair of third brackets appear around the file name in the formula.

Insert Third Brackets ([]): Sign in Excel Formula

Read More: How to Add Symbol Before a Number in Excel (3 Ways)


In this tutorial, I have discussed how to insert signs in an Excel formula. I hope you found this article helpful. You can visit our website ExcelDemy to learn more Excel-related content. Please, drop comments, suggestions, or queries if you have any in the comment section below.

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Hafiz Islam

Hafiz Islam

Hi there. I am Hafiz, graduated from BUET. Currently, I am working and doing research on Microsoft Excel and here I will be posting articles related to this. Now you can see my articles in the ExcelDemy blog.

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