Nonstandard operator precedence in Excel

Roger L. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Microsoft's Excel spreadsheet program implements an unusual operator precedence in formulas. This can cause errors in statistical calculations, if it is not properly followed. For example, some errors by Excel in nonlinear regression reported by McCullough and Wilson (2002. On the accuracy of statistical procedures in Microsoft Excel 2000 and Excel XP. Comput. Statist. Data Anal. 40, 713-721) were probably due to programming by the users that did not follow the unusual operator precedence rules. In this note the operator precedence in Excel is explained, the previous nonlinear regression results are corrected, and a simple example of maximum likelihood estimation is given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2788-2791
Number of pages4
JournalComputational Statistics and Data Analysis
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2007


  • Microsoft Excel
  • Nonlinear regression
  • Operator precedence
  • Unary negation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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