Excel has been around for almost half a century. It’s an integral part of the Microsoft Office tools, right there with Microsoft Word. Yet, there are still people who are just getting started with this spreadsheet tool.
If you are one of those people who still doesn’t know how to multiply in Excel, this comprehensive guide is for you.
Multiplication Methods in Excel
There are plenty of ways you can multiply in Microsoft Excel. But, the two most common procedures are the following:
- Multiplication Using the Asterisk Symbol
- Multiplication Using the Product Function
How to Multiply Using the Asterisk Symbol in Excel
When using Excel, remember that the multiplication symbol is replaced with an asterisk (*). Hence, when you want to express 5 x 3, you should type 5*3 instead. And yes, that is without any spaces.
Another rule of Excel is that you should always start with the equals sign (=) when you create a formula in a cell. This action will signal to Excel that you are typing a formula.
Thus, typing =5*3 and hitting Enter should give you the answer, which is 15.
How to Multiply Two Cells in Excel
You can also multiply two cells in Excel, provided that both cells have numerical data in them. For instance, let’s assume that in cell A3 we have 5, and in cell B3 we have 3. Here is how you can easily multiply them, with the result appearing in cell C3:
- Type in the equals sign (=) in cell C3.
- Then, click on cell A3 to add it to your formula.
- Next, type an asterisk (*) and click on cell B3.
- Finally, hit Enter to produce the answer.
Note that you can also type in the cell address instead. You can type in as many multipliers as you want, provided that you add an asterisk between them.
How to Multiply Two Columns in Excel
If you have two sets of values lined up in a column, you can multiply them by batch. Let’s assume you have an hourly rate in column A and you have hours worked in column B.
To get the product in column C, here’s what you should do:
- Type the equals sign (=) into a cell in column C that corresponds with the first row of values. In our example, that would be in C3.
- Next, click on the cell where the multiplicand is and then type an asterisk (*). A multiplicand is a number being multiplied by another number.
- After which, click on the cell where the multiplier is and hit Enter to generate the answer. A multiplier is a number the multiplicand is multiplied by.
- Click the previously answered cell C3. Next, hover your mouse pointer into the lower right corner of the cell border. Then drag the mouse pointer down until you’ve reached the last row where you want the answers to show up.
This is how it should look like in the spreadsheet:
Note that this also works if you want to work on rows using the multiplier and multiplicand columns. However, you will have to drag the formula sidewards instead.
How to Multiply Using the Product Function in Excel
Now, let’s move on to something more advanced.
Microsoft Excel has dozens of functions. For our purposes, we will be using the PRODUCT function, which multiplies all the numbers that you input as arguments.
To access this function, type the equals sign (=) into a cell, followed by the word PRODUCT. Notice that Excel automatically generates an open parenthesis. After which, you need to do the following:
- Type in the multiplicand cell address, say A3, before adding a comma (,).
- Next, type in the multiplier cell reference, say B3, and then type in closed parentheses.
- Hit Enter, and it should generate the answer.
Note that you can select the cells you want to multiply by just clicking them instead of typing.
To fill in the rest of the column or row using the same formula, drag downwards or sidewards from the bottom-right corner of the cell, depending on where you want the products to be.
How to Multiply Using Multiple Rows or Columns
There are also cases where you won’t just be multiplying two values in different rows or columns.
Let’s say, for example, you have values in columns A, B, C, D, and E, plus you want your answers in column F. When you’re dealing with multiple numbers, here’s what you can do using what we’ve learned so far:
Using the Asterisk Method
In cell F3, type in the following formula before hitting Enter: =A3*B3*C3*D3*E3.
Here’s how it should look like in the spreadsheet:
Using the Product Function Method
In cell F3, type in the following before tapping Enter: =PRODUCT(A3,B3,C3,D3,E3).
Here’s how it looks like in the Excel sheet:
Both methods work fine, but you can use a shorter string of formulas if you want.
Using the Range-of-Cells Method
Here we are still going to use the PRODUCT function, but instead of a comma, we will use a colon (:). Using a colon is a signal for Excel to process the range defined by the first and last cell address.
Hence, if we type in =PRODUCT(A3:E3), Excel will multiply all the values from cells A3 to E3.
You can also use this method to produce answers in a row using the values within the column.
Moreover, you can use a combination of the commands. For example, if you type in: =PRODUCT (A3:E3,5), Excel will multiply all the numbers from A3 to E3 before multiplying it by 5.
There are plenty of combinations you can try depending on the mathematical problem. You can also try out other sophisticated Excel formulas in the future.
Ready to Be a Microsoft Excel Expert?
This article is just a beginner’s guide on how to multiply in Microsoft Excel. There are many functions and features that we left untouched since it might intimidate new users of the worksheet. But, you can always refer to this easy guide if you ever feel stuck when working on your spreadsheet.