Euler’s number is a famous mathematical constant. It’s often abbreviated simply as e. Rounded, it equals approximately 2.71828, but its digits carry on to infinity without repeating. Fortunately, it can be calculated in Excel and used as a part of any formula. Let’s learn how to use Euler’s number in Microsoft Excel.
How to Use Euler’s Number in Excel
It’s a compelling piece of mathematical trivia, but you may be wondering about how or why you should use Euler’s number in Microsoft Excel. Euler’s number – e for short – is the base of the natural logarithm.
Natural logs, in turn, have an array of practical uses. Many of these are time-based applications. For example, natural logs are key components of any equation meant to calculate exponential growth and exponential decay. Perhaps the most practical of all is their use in solving problems involving monetary compound interest. You’ll also find Euler’s number used in equations involving sound waves, radioactive decay, gambling probabilities, and more.
Euler’s number alone, then, is really a measure of exponential growth compared against intervals. For example, as intervals in compounding draw closer together, the sequence of the formula begins to reach a limit. The limit, then, is Euler’s number.
Euler’s number in Microsoft Excel actually has its own assigned function. It’s called the EXP function, which alone is the inverse (opposite) of the related Natural Log (LN) function.
At its simplest, EXP will return Euler’s number into your chosen cell. The syntax of the function itself is quite simple. Let’s look at how it works.
To get started, click into any empty cell in your workbook. Then, type an = sign. This is the standard technique in Excel to indicate that you’re inputting a formula in a given cell. Then, type in the EXP function:
The formula asks for a single input: Number. This is simply the power that you want to raise Euler’s number too. Logically, if you want to display Euler’s number in Excel, that power would be 1. Type 1, then close the parentheses. Your complete formula is:
Hit Enter on your keyboard, and Excel will display Euler’s number: 2.71828. Keep in mind, Euler’s number is infinite. On Excel’s Home tab, found on the ribbon, you can control how many digits to display. Simply click Increase Decimal or Decrease Decimal in the formatting group near the center of the Home tab.
You can also use the EXP function to raise Euler’s number to the power of your choice. For example, you may want to raise it to the third, seventh, and twenty-fifth powers. In three separate cells, simply utilize the following formulas, respectively:
The EXP function will also support more complex arguments of the kind you often encounter in advanced mathematics. Once again, it demonstrates how useful Microsoft Excel is for complex applications. Gone are the days when calculations on paper were required to find the solutions you need every day.
For example, EXP can support cell references inside the Number input. For example, you may want to raise Euler’s number to the third power times the value found inside a certain cell, like E4. To do so, simply begin by typing the EXP formula as you’ve been doing:
Then, type *, which is the multiplication operator in Microsoft Excel. Then, click on the cell that you want to reference, E4. Then, close the parentheses by typing ), completing your formula:
Hit Enter, and Excel will return your solution: 3,269,017.372.(Note: using =EXP(15) would return the identical value.)
As you can see, it’s easy to work with the fascinating Euler’s number, thanks to Microsoft Excel.