# How to use the PRODUCT function

**What is the PRODUCT function?**

The PRODUCT function returns the product of the numbers given in the argument.

## 1. Introduction

**What is a product?**

A product is what you get when you multiply two numbers or more.

**What is multiplication?**

It is one of the four basic arithmetic operations. Multiplication means adding a number together multiple times. It is a faster way to add the same number over and over again.

For example:

5 x 3 means adding 5 together 3 times: 5 + 5 + 5 = 15

So multiplication is a shorthand for repeated addition.

**What is repeated multiplication?**

The PRODUCT faction returns the product of two or more numbers. If the numbers are repeated you can use exponentiation to calculate the result. Repeated multiplication involves using multiplication to find the result of multiplying a number by itself multiple times.

For example:

- Repeatedly multiplying 5 by itself 3 times is written: 5 x 5 x 5
- The result is:

5 x 5 x 5 = 125

Repeated multiplication and exponentiation describe the same fundamental mathematical operation, 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 2^{4}

Exponentiation lets you shorten repeated multiplication considerably.

The POWER function lets you calculate a number multiplied x repeated times.

For example 5 * 5 * 5 = 5^{3}

=POWER(5,3) equals 125

you also have the alternative to use the ^character like this: =5^3 equals 125

**The product function multiplies values in excel, how can I multiply fractions and return a fraction?**

To multiply fractions and keep the result as a fraction in Excel, you can use the PRODUCT function combined with the FRACTION format:

For example:

=PRODUCT(1/2, 2/3)

Apply the Fraction number format to the cell:

- Press with right mouse button on on the cell you want to format.
- Press with mouse on "Format Cells"
- Go to Number tab > Select Fraction as the category
- Select a type: Up to one digit, up to two digits, and up to three digits.

This will display the result as a fraction.

So for the example above, it would display: 1/3

Instead of the decimal 0.3333333333333333 This lets you keep fraction multiplications in exact fractional form, however, only up to three digits maximum.

You also have the option to use the TEXT function instead of formatting cells.

=TEXT(PRODUCT(1/2, 2/3),"?/?")

The downside with the text function is that it returns a text value, it is not possible to perform math operations on a text value.

## 2. Syntax

PRODUCT(*number1, [number2], ... *)

number1 |
Required. The number you want to multiply. |

[number2] |
Optional. Additional numbers you want to multiply. |

You don't need to use a comma delimiting character between each number, simply supply the cell reference to all numbers in the first argument. Empty cells, boolean values and text values are ignored. The product function allows you to have up to 254 arguments.

=PRODUCT(B3:D3, B9:D9) is the same as =B3*C3*D3*B9*C9*D9

## 3. Example 1

The first example calculates the product of 3 which is in cell B3 and 5 which is located in cell C3.

Formula in cell D3:

The result is 15 which is calculated by multiplying 3 by 5 equals 15.

The second example calculates the product of 9 which is in cell B4 and 4 which is located in cell C4.

Formula in cell D4:

The result is 36 which is calculated by multiplying 9 by 4 equals 36.

The third example calculates the product of 5 which is in cell B5 and 9 which is located in cell C5.

Formula in cell D5:

The result is 45 which is calculated by multiplying 5 by 9 equals 45.

The fourth example calculates the product of 1 which is in cell B6 and 3 which is located in cell C6.

Formula in cell D6:

The result is 3 which is calculated by multiplying 1 by 3 equals 3.

The fifth example calculates the product of 5 which is in cell B7 and 10 which is located in cell C7.

Formula in cell D7:

The result is 50 which is calculated by multiplying 5 by 10 equals 50.

The sixth example calculates the product of 10 which is in cell B8 and 4which is located in cell C8.

Formula in cell D8:

The result is 40 which is calculated by multiplying 4 by 10 equals 40.

The asterisk character lets you also multiply values in an Excel formula. For example the formula in cell D8 becomes:

The asterisk character lets you shorten formulas a lot compared to the PRODUCT function unless you need to multiply many values. For example:

This formula multiplies all values in cell range A1:A20, if you use the asterisk character the formula becomes:

This formula demonstrates why the PRODUCT function sometimes is a better alternative.

## 4. Example 2

**The factorial of a positive integer n, represented by n!, is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n. For the number 4, the factorial is calculated by multiplying 4 by 3 by 2 by 1. What is this product?**

The PRODUCT function can easily calculate the factorial of a given number.

Formula in cell G3:

The formula in cell G3 returns 24 which is the factorial of four. 4*3*2*1 = 24 What if the number is larger? It would be tedious to type all numbers.

Formula in cell G3:

This formula lets you easily calculate the factorial of larger numbers. It creates a sequence from 1 to n where n is the number you want to calculate the factorial of.

There is actually a specific function that is even easier to use and that function is the FACT function.

The formula above calculates the factorial for 4.

## 5. Example 3

**The area of a rectangle is found by multiplying its length by its width. If one side spans 9 units and the adjacent side measures 3.5 units, what is the rectangle's area in square units?**

This is what we know:

- The shape is a rectangle.
- Length: 9
- Width: 3.5
- To calculate the area of a rectangle we need to multiply the length by the width.

Area = length x width

Formula in cell E18:

The formula in cell E18 returns 31.5 square units. 9 * 3.5 equals 31.5

## 6. Example 4

**What is the volume of a right rectangular prism with length 11 units, width 3.5 units, and height 7.2 units?**

This is what we know based on the question:

- The shape is a rectangular prism.
- Length: 9
- Width: 3.5
- Height: 7.2
- To calculate the volume of a rectangular we need to multiply the length by the width by the height.

Volume = length x width x height

Formula in cell C22:

The volume of the rectangular prism is 277.2 cubic units.

**For a cube, since all sides have equal length, the formula simplifies to multiplying one side length by itself three times. What is the volume when each side measures 11 units?**

We multiply the side three times to get the volume of the cube, we can also use the POWER function to calculate the volume.

The POWER function can subsequently be shortened as well using the caret character:

The volume of the cube is 277.2 cubic units. 11*11*11 = 1331

### 'PRODUCT' function examples

The following article has a formula that contains the PRODUCT function.

The asterisk character allows you to multiply numbers and boolean values in an Excel formula. It can also be used […]

### Functions in 'Math and trigonometry' category

The PRODUCT function function is one of 62 functions in the 'Math and trigonometry' category.

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