Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Order of Operations)

I usually receive a fair amount of blank stares from some of my students after blurting out “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” This mnemonic comes during my Excel classes order of operations lesson. Excel does not necessarily read formulas left to right as the English language does. So thus this post on the order of operations.  I can still remember from my 8th grade pre-algebra teacher mentioning to our class “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” as a helpful guide to remember to order. So here is goes:

Please  (Parenthesis)

Excuse (Exponents)

My (Multiplication)

Dear (Division)

Aunt (Addition)

Sally (Subtraction)

Put everything in parenthesis if you want Excel to calculate it first. Then the order shifts to exponents. After that you multiply and divide before addition and subtraction.

In my two examples below I’m using the same number yet will get different outcomes based on how I write the formula.

Example A


= 1 + 6



Example B


= 3 * 3



About Steve Chase

I want to help you work in your business, so you can work on your business. I want to help you achieve your goals and help you have a successful small business journey. I understand that keeping up with the latest technology and cloud based computer trends can be difficult, when you’re running your day to day business. But, it is crucial that you keep up with the technology and best understand your options, in order to thrive in this new era of online business. I can help you discover the right software and tools for your business, train your team on how to use them, and mentor you to best serve and delight your customers. My certifications include: QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Microsoft Office Specialist Master, and OntraPort Certified Consultant. Please contact me on my new website at
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2 Responses to Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Order of Operations)

  1. Love it – great way to remember order of operations, Steve. Thanks for sharing!

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