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Spreadsheet: Operators

MedCalc divides the operators in the following groups:

  • Arithmetic operators: arithmetic operators are used with numeric values to perform common arithmetical operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication etc.
  • Comparison Operators: comparison operators compare two numbers or two strings. The result is a boolean value expressed as a number, either 1 (=TRUE), or 0 (=FALSE).
  • Unary operators: operators that act upon a single value to produce a new value.
  • Logical operators: logical operators operate on boolean expressions and values.

Operators in order of precedence

-Unary minusUnary
+Unary plusUnary
<>Not equalComparison
!=Not equalComparison
<Less thanComparison
>Greater thanComparison
<=Less than or equal toComparison
>=Greater than or equal toComparison

Order of operators

  • The order of operations can be changed using parentheses. Operations within parentheses are performed first.
  • The exponentiation operator ^ is left-associative. In the expression 2^3^2, 2^3 is evaluated first. 2^3^2 is (2^3)^2 (=64), not 2^(3^2) (=512).
  • When arithmetic and comparison operators are combined in one expression, the arithmetic are performed first.
  • The not operator ! changes a FALSE value into TRUE (=1), and a TRUE value into FALSE (=0). Zero values or empty strings are evaluated to FALSE.
    • !0 results in 1
    • !1 results in 0
    • !5 results in 0
    • !"" results in 1 (an emptry strings is evaluated to FALSE)
    • !"MedCalc" results in 0
  • MedCalc may drop superfluous unary minus or plus signs (for example -0 is 0, and +3 is 3).


  • -2^3 returns -8 (the power operator has precendence ocer the uniry minus).
  • SQRT(9)=3 returns 1 (TRUE).
  • B6<5+3 returns 1 if the contents of B6 is less than 8, otherwise this expression returns 0.
  • 5+3*(A1>3) returns 8 if cell A1 contains a value greater than 3 (since A1>3 = TRUE = 1). If A1 contains 3 or a number less than 3, this expression returns 5 (A1>3 = FALSE = 0).

See also