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Exponents are simply repeated multiplications. For example, four to the third power (4³) isn’t 4 x 3, it’s 4 x 4 x 4, which equals a total of 64. If that sounds complicated, fear not; Excel can do the heavy lifting for you!

How to Display Exponents in Excel

Before we learn how to use exponents, we’ll start with a quick example of how to type them in Excel. In this case, we’ll need to employ the Superscript function, so we can display the exponent.

To do this, right-click an empty cell, and then select “Format Cells” from the menu.

Select "Format Cells."

Under “Category:” on the left, select “Text,” and then click “OK.”

Select "Text," and then click "OK."

In the same cell, type both the base number and exponent without any spaces between them. In our example, we’re going to find 10³ (10 x 10 x 10). Our base number is 10 and three is the exponent.

Type your base number and exponent.

Next, highlight your exponent; in our example, it’s the three.

Highlight the exponent.

Right-click the cell again, and then choose “Format Cells.”

Choose "Format Cells."

Select the checkbox next to “Superscript” in the “Effects” section, and then click “OK.” Press Enter or click in any other cell to complete the process.

Select the "Superscript" checkbox, and then click "OK."

How to Use Exponents in the Formula Bar

You can also use exponents in the Excel Formula bar. To do so, click the empty cell where you’d like to display the result of a calculation.

Click the cell where you want the result to appear.

You plug your exponent into the following formula: “=Power(number,power).” We’ll use 10⁴ for our example, so we type “=Power(10,4)” (without the quotation marks) in the formula bar.

Plug your exponent into the "=Power(number,power)" formula.

To execute the formula, press Enter or click the checkmark to the left of the formula bar.

Click the checkmark to execute.

How to Use Exponents in an Individual Cell

If you want to perform the calculation inside a cell, you can skip the formula bar entirely and use a bit of Excel shorthand, instead.

To find 10⁵, for example, you could type “=10^5” (again, without the quotation marks), and then press Enter.

Plug your base number and exponent into the "=base number^exponent" formula.

Regardless of how you get there, the answer will be the same. If you’re short on time, finding the solution to an exponent in Excel is a quick alternative to manual calculations.

Bryan Clark Bryan Clark
Bryan has worked in journalism and publishing for more than 15 years. For the last 10 years, he's covered the technology beat, including gadgets, social media, security, and web culture. Before working as a freelancer, Bryan was the Managing Editor for The Next Web. These days he spends his time at a number of publications, both online and off, including The New York Times, Popular Science, and The Next Web, among others.
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