Calculation operators

Operators specify the type of calculation that you want to perform on the elements of a formula. Lists support three different types of calculation operators: arithmetic, comparison, and text.

Types of operators

Arithmetic operators

To perform basic mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, or multiplication; combine numbers; and produce numeric results, use the following arithmetic operators.

Arithmetic operator Meaning (Example)
+ (plus sign) Addition (3+3)
– (minus sign) Subtraction (3–1)
Negation (–1)
* (asterisk) Multiplication (3*3)
/ (forward slash) Division (3/3)
% (percent sign) Percent (20%)
^ (caret) Exponentiation (3^2)

Comparison operators

You can compare two values with the following operators. When two values are compared by using these operators, the result is a logical value of Yes or No.

Comparison operator Meaning (Example)
= (equal sign) Equal to (A=B)
> (greater than sign) Greater than (A>B)
< (less than sign) Less than (A<B)
>= (greater than or equal to sign) Greater than or equal to (A>=B)
<= (less than or equal to sign) Less than or equal to (A<=B)
<> (not equal to sign) Not equal to (A<>B)

Text concatenation operator

Use the ampersand (&) to join, or concatenate, one or more text strings to produce a single piece of text.

Text operator Meaning (Example)
& (ampersand) Connects, or concatenates, two values to produce one continuous text value ("North"&"wind")

The order in which a list performs operations in a formula

Formulas calculate values in a specific order. A list formula might begin with an equal sign (=). Following the equal sign are the elements to be calculated (the operands), which are separated by calculation operators. Lists calculate the formula from left to right, according to a specific order for each operator in the formula.

Operator precedence

If you combine several operators in a single formula, lists perform the operations in the order shown in the following table. If a formula contains operators with the same precedence — for example, if a formula contains both a multiplication and division operator — lists evaluate the operators from left to right.

Operator Description
Negation (as in –1)
% Percent
^ Exponentiation
* and / Multiplication and division
+ and – Addition and subtraction
& Connects two strings of text (concatenation)
= < > <= >= <> Comparison

Use of parentheses

To change the order of evaluation, enclose in parentheses the part of the formula to be calculated first. For example, the following formula produces 11 because a list calculates multiplication before addition. The formula multiplies 2 by 3 and then adds 5 to the result.


In contrast, if you use parentheses to change the syntax, the list adds 5 and 2 together and then multiplies the result by 3 to produce 21.


In the example below, the parentheses around the first part of the formula force the list to calculate [Cost]+25 first and then divide the result by the sum of the values in columns EC1 and EC2.


Applies to:
Deployment Center 2003