Multiplying numbers in Google Sheets is a useful skill for analysing data and performing calculations in your spreadsheets. Whether you’re a beginner setting up your first budget sheet or an advanced user building complex formulas, knowing how to multiply in Google Sheets can help streamline your tasks. Luckily, Google Sheets makes multiplying incredibly simple with straightforward multiplication functions and operators.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of multiplying in Google Sheets so you can seamlessly multiply data across your spreadsheet.
We’ll outline the main ways to multiply in Google Sheets, including using the asterisk operator to multiply two numbers or multiply cells. We will also take things up a notch by showing you how to multiply in Google Sheets using the Multiply function.
After going through the practical examples we will highlight in today’s guide, you’ll be able to multiply in Google Sheets like a pro.
Multiplying Two Numbers in Google Sheets:
Multiplying two numbers is one of the most common spreadsheet tasks. And Google Sheets makes multiplying simple with dedicated tools to perform this basic math operation.
In this section, we will cover step-by-step how to multiply two numbers or cells containing numbers in Google Sheets using two key options:
- The multiply operator – Using the asterisk (*) symbol
- The MULTIPLY function
Understanding both methods allows you to easily multiply numbers for budgets, invoices, inventory counts, and more.
Let’s look at how to leverage both of these methods to multiply in Google Sheets.
Copy Sample Sheet
If you’d like to follow along with today’s tutorial, you can copy our sample sheet using the link below.
Multiplying Two Numbers with the Asterisk Symbol
Multiplying two numbers in Google Sheets using the asterisk (*) symbol is a straightforward process that can be mastered with ease through step-by-step guidance.
To demonstrate how you can multiply numbers using the * symbol, we will use the following sample data:
This sample data contains two numbers we want to multiply in cells A1 and B1.
In the simple steps below, you will learn how to use the * symbol to multiply these two numbers directly in Google Sheets and instantly output the product.
Step 1: Select an Empty Cell
First, pick an empty cell in your spreadsheet. This is where the answer to your multiplication will appear. For our example, let’s use cell C1.
Step 2: Input the Asterik Formula
Now, let’s use the multiplication formula. Click on the cell you chose (C1 in our example). Then, type in the asterisk formula.
Start with an equals sign (=), followed by the numbers or cell references you want to multiply, separated by an asterisk (*). For our example, it would be:
Since we are multiplying 12 and 14.
Step 3: Press Enter
Having inputted the asterisk separator like we showed you, all that is left to do is press the Enter button on your keyboard. Google Sheets should automatically generate the multiplication result in the selected cell.
Here is what we got after executing this step:
Now, that’s how to multiply two numbers in Google Sheets using the asterisk separator. That wasn’t too hard, was it?
Multiplying Two Numbers with the MULTIPLY Function
After exploring how to multiply numbers using the asterisk symbol in Google Sheets, as discussed in our previous section, let’s now dive into another effective method: the MULTIPLY function.
This approach provides a more explicit and structured way to perform multiplication and is especially useful for beginners or for creating more readable spreadsheets.
Let’s consider a scenario where we have two columns of numbers. Column A contains the price of items, and Column B contains their quantities. In cells A2 and B2, we input 10 (price) and 5 (quantity), respectively.
Here is what it would look like:
Now that we have our sample data nicely put together, let’s show you how to multiply two numbers in Google Sheets using the Multiply function.
Step 1: Choose A Blank Cell
First, click on the cell where you want the multiplication result to appear. For this example, we’ll use cell C2.
Step 2: Input the Multiplication Formula
With the cell where we want the multiplication result generated chosen, let’s input the multiplication formula. Don’t worry; the process is easy.
Here is how to go about it:
- In cell C2, begin by typing =MULTIPLY(
- Next, click on the first cell you want to multiply (A2 in our example) or type its reference.
- After A2, type a comma (,), then click on the second cell (B2) or type its reference.
- Your formula in C2 should now look like:
Step 3: Press Enter
Having inputted the formula like we showed you in step 2, the next thing you need to do is hit the Enter button on your keyboard. The result should be instantly generated in the selected cell.
Here, check out what ours looks like:
Step 4: Replicating the Formula (Optional)
If you have more rows of data, simply drag the fill handle (the small square at the bottom right corner of cell C2) down to apply the same formula to other rows. This action will multiply corresponding cells in columns A and B.
Note: This method, using the MULTIPLY function, not only performs the same operation as the asterisk symbol but also enhances the readability of your formula, making it easier to understand at a glance what your spreadsheet is calculating.
Expanding Beyond Two Numbers
So far, we have focused on multiplying just two numbers or cells together in Google Sheets using the * symbol. However, you can actually utilise this multiplication operator to multiply more than two values together.
For example, let’s say you have the numbers 10, 20, and 5 entered into cells A1, A2, and A3 as sample data. You can combine all three into a single multiplication formula:
By stringing together multiple cell references or numbers with * symbols between each one, Google Sheets will multiply them sequentially from left to right.
So, in our case above, A1 * A2 first multiplies 10 * 20 = 200. Then, the final result multiplies by A3, making 200 * 5 = 1,000.
Note: One key tip to remember when multiplying multiple values – if any referenced cell is blank or contains text, the result will output as 0. So, ensure all cells contain numbers only.
Additionally, be mindful of the order of operations – multiplication and division happen before addition and subtraction in Google Sheets. Parentheses can help group operations and prioritise certain calculations if needed.
By leveraging these rules, you can create advanced multi-operation formulas for multiplying more numbers across cells.
Multiplying Columns in Google Sheets
In the previous examples we covered, we showed you how to multiply individual cells in Google Sheets. While the process was seamless and straight to the point, do you know that you can actually multiply columns in Google Sheets using any of the methods we showed you earlier?
Oh yes, in this section, we will show you how to multiply two columns or more in Google Sheets using a simple formula you can relate to.
For this particular example, we will be using the following sales data in Google Sheets to demonstrate how you can seamlessly multiply columns in Google Sheets.
To get the total sales value for each product, we need to multiply the quantity sold times the sale price.
Here are the detailed steps to multiply these two entire columns:
Step 1: Choose a Blank Cell
As we did with the other examples, we need to choose a blank cell in our spreadsheet. This is where we want the result of our multiplication to be applied. So, for this particular example, we will go ahead and select cell C2.
Step 2: Input the Multiplication Formula
Now that we have selected an empty cell where we want our multiplication result to show up, it’s time to input the multiplication formula.
Here is how to go about it:
- In the chosen cell (C2), start typing =ARRAYFORMULA(
- Now, specify the range of cells you want to multiply. For our example, we’ll multiply the numbers in cells A2 through A11 with those in B2 through B11.
- After typing =ARRAYFORMULA(, add the first range: A2:A11
- Then, type an asterisk (*) to signify multiplication.
- Next, add the second range: B2:B11.
Your complete formula in C2 should now be:
Step 3: Press Enter
Having entered the formula as we showed you, it’s time to see the result. All you need to do is press the Enter button on your keyboard, and Google Sheets should automatically generate the multiplication result.
If you followed every step we detailed above, your spreadsheet should look something like this:
Note: In the previous multiplication examples we covered, we used basic multiplication formulas to multiply values across cells in Google Sheets. However, for this particular example, we choose to use the array formula, and the reason is simple.
By leveraging the array formula, we won’t need to replicate the result across multiple cells, as the array formula does that automatically.
You can see that once we entered the ArrayFormula in cell C2, the result instantly fills column C, saving us the stress of having to repeat the process for other cells.
However, while the ArrayFormula makes our job easy, it has a few limitations you should know.
- You cannot directly delete or edit any individual cells in the output range.
- To make an edit, you have to delete the entire array at once
An alternative is to use standard formulas that allow editing the results:
This can be manually dragged down column C. Since it is not an array formula, you can freely update specific cells.
Finally, if you just need the overall sum of the multiplications in the columns, use
This adds up the products cleanly in one cell.
The choice comes down to your needs – arrays for quick automated output, standard formulas for flexibility, or SUMPRODUCT to condense into one sum.
Pro Tips for Mastering Multiplication in Google Sheets
While we have extensively shown you how to multiply in Google Sheets, we have put together some pro tips for mastering multiplication in Google Sheets.
Check them out:
Double Check Formulas
It’s frustrating to finish a complex formula only to find the wrong calculation result. Often, simple typos are the culprit. Be diligent about checking every function, cell reference, and parenthesis to ensure accurate formulas.
Use The Asterisk Symbol
The * symbol is the required multiplication operator in Sheets. Do not attempt alternate symbols, which can create errors. Always type * between numbers or cell references to multiply properly.
Pick Results Cells Carefully
Give forethought to which blank cells you aim to place multiplication results in. Choosing cells adjacent to your numerical data sources streamlines checking work. Planning column and row outcomes also aid further analysis.
Learn Cell Referencing
Visually selecting cells to reference saves effort over manual entry and prevents mistakes. Become comfortable using computer mouse clicks to target and link cells when multiplying formulas to harness Sheets’ power.
Implementing these multiplication strategies in Google Sheets will help sidestep common issues beginners face when multiplying in Google Sheets.
After going through numerous multiplying examples using the various methods we showed you in today’s guide, you should now feel equipped to handle basic to more advanced multiplication tasks in your spreadsheets.
We covered how to easily multiply two numbers or cells using either the asterisk symbol or the dedicated MULTIPLY function. Both options allow you to multiply in Google Sheets with little effort.
You also learned how to expand beyond two numbers and multiply entire columns of data to analyse sales figures, model projections, and other real-world spreadsheet use cases you may encounter. We also showed you how tricks like array formulas help automate multiplications across entire column ranges.
Finally, we provided you with some key multiplication tips to help you avoid common pitfalls like formula errors. We particularly mentioned that practising good cell reference habits and double-checking your formulas goes a long way toward enhancing your success when multiplying in Google Sheets.
With Google Sheets’ simplicity when multiplying cells, numbers, and columns paired with the examples discussed, you should feel empowered to handle all basic multiplication cases as well as some intermediate use cases seamlessly. Just utilise the asterisk operator or MULTIPLY function to get the mathematical capabilities you need.
If you have any other Google Sheets multiplication questions, don’t hesitate to refer back to the multiplying methods we covered in today’s guide. Also, feel free to explore more guides to level up your overall Google Sheets skills over time.