Using Excel's PRODUCT Function

How to multiply numbers and other types of data

Close up of person making calculations.

Prapass Pulsub/Getty Images

You have several options when you want to multiply numbers and other types of data in an Excel workbook. You could use a formula for multiplication. But, when you want to multiply several cells, use the PRODUCT function.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010; Excel for Mac, Excel for Office 365, and Excel Online.

Use the PRODUCT Function to Multiply Numbers, Arrays, or Ranges of Values

The product is the result of a multiplication operation. The numbers shown in cells A1 to A3 of the example below can be multiplied together using one of two methods:

  • A formula containing the multiply (*) mathematical operator (see row 5 for an example).
  • The PRODUCT function as shown in row 6.
Sample PRODUCT Excel table.

The PRODUCT function comes into play when multiplying the data in many cells. For example, in row 9 in the image, the formula:

=PRODUCT(A1:A3,B1:B3)

is equivalent to the formula:

=A1*A2*A3*B1*B2*B3

Syntax and Arguments

A function's syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function's name, brackets, comma separators, and arguments.

The syntax for the PRODUCT function is:

=PRODUCT(Number1,Number2,...,Number255 )
  • Number1 (required) is the first number or array that you want to multiply. This argument can be the actual numbers, cell references, or the range of the location of data in the worksheet.
  • Number2, Number3,...,Number255 (optional) are additional numbers, arrays, or ranges up to a maximum of 255 arguments.

Data Types

Different types of data are treated differently by the PRODUCT function depending on whether they are entered directly as arguments in the function or as cell references to a location in the worksheet.

For example, numbers and dates are read as numeric values by the function when they are supplied directly to the function or are included using cell references.

As shown in rows 12 and 13, Boolean values (TRUE or FALSE only) are read as numbers only if they are inserted directly into the function. If you enter a cell reference to a Boolean value as an argument, the PRODUCT function ignores it.

Sample PRODUCT Excel table.

Text Data and Error Values

As with Boolean values, if you include a reference to text data as an argument, the function ignores the data in that cell and returns a result for other references or data.

If text data is entered directly into the function as an argument, as shown in row 11, the PRODUCT function returns the #VALUE! error value.

This error value is returned when any of the arguments that are supplied directly to the function cannot be interpreted as numeric values.

Surround all text entered directly into an Excel function with quotation marks. If you enter the word text without quotation marks, the function returns the #NAME? error. 

An Example of the PRODUCT Function

The PRODUCT function is entered into an Excel worksheet by either typing the complete function into the Formula Bar or by using the Function Arguments dialog box.

To follow along with the tutorial, open a new Excel worksheet and enter the following data:

A screenshot showing sample data that will be multiplied with the Excel PRODUCT function

To find the product when multiplying cells A1, A2, and A3, you could type the formula. Select an empty cell, such as A4, and type the function:

=PRODUCT(A1:A3)

Press Enter after you've entered the complete function.

Although it is possible to enter the complete function manually, many people find it easier to use the dialog box because it takes care of adding the function's syntax, such as brackets and comma separators between arguments.

Here's how to enter the PRODUCT function using the Function Arguments dialog box:

  1. Select cell A4 to make it the active cell.

  2. On the ribbon, go to Formulas.

  3. Select Math & Trig.

  4. Select PRODUCT.

    A screenshot showing the Formulas tab with the Math & Trig list expanded to show the PRODUCT function in Excel
  5. In the Function Arguments dialog box, place the cursor in the Number1 text box.

    If the active cell is directly beneath a group of cells, Excel may automatically add the cell references. If you don't want to use these cell references, delete the references.

  6. On the worksheet, highlight cells A1 to A3 to add this range to the dialog box.

    A screenshot showing the PRODUCT function arguments dialog box in Excel
  7. In the Function Arguments dialog box, select OK to complete the function and to close the dialog box.

  8. The answer 750 appears in cell A4 because 5*10*15 equals 750.

    A screenshot showing the result of the PRODUCT function in Excel
  9. Select cell A4 to view the complete function in the Formula Bar above the worksheet.