Using Nested Parentheses in Excel Formulas

It’s a best practice to use parentheses whenever you can in Excel formulas, even if the use of parentheses seem to be superfluous. The liberal use of parentheses can not only help you avoid calculation errors but also help you better understand what the formula is doing.

You can even nest parentheses in formulas. Nesting means putting parentheses inside of other parentheses. When a formula contains nested parentheses, Excel evaluates the most deeply nested operations first and works its way out. The following formula uses nested parentheses:


This formula has three sets of parentheses. Excel will evaluate the two nested sets of parentheses first, then will add those two results together. The added result will then be multiplied by the value in E1.

Every open parenthesis must have a matching close parenthesis. You can imagine that when you start adding lots of parentheses to your formula, determining which open parenthesis has a matching close parenthesis can get difficult. For its part, Excel offers some help by color coding the parentheses while you’re in Edit mode. Matching open and close parentheses will have the same color.