Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Understanding Precedence.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated March 6, 2021)
Macros often contain mathematical formulas. Those formulas can sometimes become quite complex. Any time a formula contains more than one operator (such as + or -), VBA needs to figure out in which order to perform the operations. This is where the concept of precedence comes into play. Precedence is the built-in macro logic that determines the order in which the operations occur. This is the normal order:
|* and /||Multiplication and division|
|+ and -||Addition and subtraction|
Notice that there are two entries in the precedence list in which there are two operators. Multiplication and division are at the same precedence level, as are addition and subtraction. If a formula involves two or more operators at the same precedence level, then the operators are evaluated from left to right within the formula.
If you want to change the order in which a formula is evaluated, you need to use parentheses. Operations within parentheses are evaluated before those outside of them. Thus, a formula such as 3 * (4 + 2) would produce a result of 18 because the addition within the parentheses takes precedence over the multiplication outside the parentheses. If the parentheses had been omitted, then 3 * 4 + 2 would have resulted in 14.
WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12960) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Understanding Precedence.
Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!
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