Today, we’re going to look at something fairly easy to do in Google Sheets: square!
Squaring a number means multiplying that number by itself. The square of 5, for instance, is 5*5=25.
Let’s dive right into how to square in Google Sheets. It’s quite simple, but you have a few different options.
How to Square in Google Sheets by Multiplying
So, the first thing you can do is simply multiply a number by itself.
Here, we have a cell that serves as the variable, in which we’ve put the number 5. In the next cell, we’ve introduced the algorithm:
Now, to get the same result (25) we could have just typed in 5*5. But by doing it this way, we can insert any number we want into the “5” cell and still get a multiplication.
A lot of times when you’re making a spreadsheet, you want to make a spreadsheet that can change dynamically. So, it’s good to keep your values exposed.
How to Square a Number in Google Sheets Using POWER()
But there’s a more elegant way to square a number; by using the POWER() function. There’s no direct Google Sheets square function, but the POWER() function does it all. The POWER() function takes two arguments:
You might remember that the way to write a square is (base)^(exponent). The square of a 5 is 5^2. When we square something, we multiply it against itself to the power of 2 — twice.
So, we can enter in:
The result we will get will be 5 squared. In this case, again, we used the variable (A6) because we wanted to have a variable that we could dynamically change.
We can change 5 to any number and get a squared number.
Using the Power() Function
The power function works for more than just squaring a number. If we wanted to get 5 to the 3rd power (5*5*5), we could do that, too.
While that’s a pretty easy use of the Power() function, it would be somewhat cumbersome if we tried to do it ourselves.
And it should be noted that these functions are the same in Excel as they are in Google Sheets.
In general, if there’s a mathematical function you can perform in Microsoft Excel, you’ll be able to perform it in Google Sheets, too.
Using SQRT() in Google Sheets
What if we wanted to reverse the operation? Then we would use SQRT().
SQRT() will take 25 and turn it into 5, because it’s finding what number multiplied by itself would equal out to the number that’s given.
Using Base^exponent in Google Sheets
Finally, there’s one last way that you can find the power of 2 in Google Sheets. And, in some ways, it’s the easiest.
You just type in “5^2.”
We’ve avoided doing it this way for one very important reason: it’s not modifiable. You can’t look at the sheet and know what numbers went into making that number; it’s just a result.
But it is a very fast, easy way to do the calculation.
Now you know how to square a number in Google Sheets.
As you can see, Google Sheets provides an extraordinary number of ways to complete many mathematical operations. You just need to dig deep into what functions it supports.
If there’s a function you used to do in algebra or even trigonometry, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to do it in Google Sheets, too.