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# sign and exponent odditity ...2

## sign and exponent odditity ...

(OP)
was just doing a equation that started with "number^4..." then i needed to change the sign ... easy enough "-number^4".

got a positive answer ... excel interprets -number^4 as (-number)^4 ... had to use "-1*number^4"

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

### RE: sign and exponent odditity ...

That is very tricky-

=-2^4 returns 16

However, =12-2^4 returns -4 (go figure)

### RE: sign and exponent odditity ...

This has been discussed before, I think, but here is the official answer: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel-help/calcu...

Excel distinguishes between a subtraction operator vs. a negation operator, as it should. A minus sign without a preceding value must be a negation, which has higher priority than exponentiation.

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### RE: sign and exponent odditity ...

-(4^2) will return -16.

Doug Jenkins
Interactive Design Services
http://newtonexcelbach.wordpress.com/

### RE: sign and exponent odditity ...

#### Quote (IRstuff)

Excel distinguishes between a subtraction operator vs. a negation operator, as it should. A minus sign without a preceding value must be a negation, which has higher priority than exponentiation.

I find it much simpler to consider the negation operation to be a subtraction from zero operation, with the zero implied. Same symbol should carry the same order of operation. Microsoft is the exception here. Mathcad for example will perform the exponention first in this calculation.

When in doubt, insert brackets.

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