Mastering the Art of Excel Multiplication: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering the Art of Excel Multiplication: A Comprehensive Guide

Excel is one of the most popular spreadsheet software in the world, and for good reason. It has a multitude of functions and features that make data analysis and manipulation effortless, including multiplication. Whether you’re using Excel for personal or professional purposes, knowing how to multiply in Excel is an essential skill that will save you time and effort. In this article, we’ll explore step-by-step instructions, shortcut keys, useful formulas, real-world examples, troubleshooting common errors, and a comparison of Excel’s multiplication features to other software.

Step-by-Step Instructions

First things first, let’s dive into the basics of Excel multiplication. The multiplication operator is represented by the asterisk (*) symbol. To multiply numbers in Excel, simply enter the numbers you want to multiply and place the asterisk symbol between them. For instance, if you want to multiply 3 and 4, you would enter “3*4” in a cell. Excel will calculate the resulting product (12) and display it in the cell.

What if you have a longer list of values to multiply? Instead of manually entering each multiplication operation, you can use a formula to easily calculate the value. The formula for multiplication in Excel is “number1*number2*number3…” with as many numbers as you need. This formula multiplies all the values you input together and displays the result in the cell.

Another way to multiply in Excel is to use the formula bar. The formula bar is a long box located above the grid where you input the cell formula. To multiply using the formula bar, simply click on the desired cell and type the formula in the formula bar, then press enter.

Shortcut Keys

Excel offers numerous shortcut keys to make working with multiplication simpler and more efficient. Instead of manually clicking on the asterisk symbol or navigating through the menu ribbon, you can simply use the keyboard.

Typing the asterisk symbol is one of the most frequently used shortcuts for Excel multiplication. However, there are also other useful shortcuts, such as Ctrl+Shift+Plus for creating a new column of multiplication values, and Alt+H+VV to bring up the Paste Special dialog box, which allows you to multiply the value with a number of your choosing. Lesser-known shortcuts include Alt+H for the home tab and Alt+MV for the view tab.

Useful Formulas

While the asterisk symbol is the simpler multiplication formula in Excel, there are other useful formulas you can apply. One such formula is the product function, which allows you to multiply a range of values. The product function formula is “PRODUCT(number1, number2, number3…)” with as many numbers as you require, so long as they are in the same row, column, or array.

Another formula is the asterisk symbol with parentheses. This formula allows you to multiply different values and add them together. For example, “(2*3)+(4*5)” will calculate to 26.

Finally, you can use the SUMPRODUCT function formula, which allows you to sum a range of multiplication values. This formula is “SUMPRODUCT(range1, range2, range3…)”, with as many ranges as you need.

Real-World Examples

Let’s take a look at some real-world examples of how Excel multiplication can be applied. One example is calculating the total cost of sales orders. When working with sales orders, you’ll typically have several columns, including quantity, price per unit, and total cost. To calculate the value for the total cost column, you simply multiply the quantity and price per unit columns to get the total cost column’s value.

Another example is calculating expense ratios. You may need to calculate a company’s expense ratio to determine its profit margins and revenue. This ratio is calculated by dividing the total expenses by the revenue. The total expenses can be easily calculated by multiplying the number of expenses by their respective costs.

Other real-world examples where multiplication in Excel can be used include calculating revenue projections and production costs.

Troubleshooting Common Errors

As with any software, you may encounter errors when trying to multiply in Excel. Two common errors are the circular reference error and the divide by zero error. A circular reference error occurs when a formula references itself directly or indirectly, causing Excel to be stuck in an infinite loop. To fix this error, you can adjust your formula to eliminate any circular references.

A divide by zero error occurs when you attempt to divide a number by zero, which is mathematically impossible. You can fix this error by either changing the value of the denominator or using the IF function to show an alternate message when there is a zero value.

Comparing with Other Software

Excel is not the only spreadsheet software out there. Other software options include Google Sheets, Apple Numbers, and OpenOffice Calc, among others. These alternatives offer similar functionality to Excel, but their multiplication features differ in some ways.

For instance, Google Sheets uses the same multiplication operator of asterisk (*), and its shortcut keys work the same way as Excel’s. However, Google Sheets does not offer the product function formula, which is available in Excel. Apple Numbers, on the other hand, uses the same multiplication formula as Excel, but Apple Numbers’ interface is slightly different compared to Excel’s.

While other alternatives exist, Excel’s multiplication features are unique and efficient, making it the preferred software for many.


Excel offers a variety of tools to make multiplying in Excel quick and easy. Knowing how to multiply in Excel is not only essential for any data analysis or manipulation, but it also enhances efficiency and productivity. With this comprehensive guide’s step-by-step instructions, shortcut keys, useful formulas, real-world examples, and troubleshooting tips, you will be well on your way to mastering Excel multiplication. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to explore other features and functionalities Excel has to offer.

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