# The Ultimate Shortcut to Add Brackets in Excel Formulas

Are you tired of manually typing brackets every time you write an **Excel formula**? Want to know the quickest shortcut to add brackets in your formulas and speed up your workflow? You’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll cover the **best shortcut keys and methods to rapidly add brackets** in Excel formulas, making your spreadsheet tasks faster and easier.

## Why Use Brackets in Excel Formulas?

Brackets, also known as parentheses, play a critical role in **Excel formulas**. They help to:

- Define the order of operations
- Group parts of a formula together
- Make complex formulas easier to read and understand

Without brackets, Excel will calculate formulas based on its default order of operations (multiplication/division first, then addition/subtraction). By adding brackets, you can control the calculation order and ensure your **formulas** give the correct result.

### Order of Operations in Excel

Excel follows the standard PEMDAS order of operations:

**P**arentheses (brackets)**E**xponents**M**ultiplication and**D**ivision (left to right)**A**ddition and**S**ubtraction (left to right)

If a formula has multiple operations with the same precedence (like multiplication and division), Excel calculates them from left to right.

Here’s an example formula:

=5+3*2^2-1

Without brackets, Excel calculates it like this:

- 2^2=4 (exponents first)
- 3*4=12 (multiplication next)
- 5+12=17
- 17-1=16 (addition and subtraction last)

But what if we want to add 5 and 3 before multiplying? Just add brackets:

=(5+3)*2^2-1

Now the steps are:

- (5+3)=8 (brackets first)
- 2^2=4
- 8*4=32
- 32-1=31

As you can see, **brackets give you control over formula calculation order**. Use them strategically to get the results you need!

## Shortcut to Add Brackets in Excel Formulas

To quickly and efficiently add brackets around an existing part of a formula, you can use the following keyboard shortcut:

### For Windows Users

**Select the Formula**: Click on the cell that contains the formula.**Enter Edit Mode**: Press`F2`

to edit the cell.**Highlight the Expression**: Use your mouse or arrow keys along with the`Shift`

key to highlight the part of the formula you want to bracket.**Add Brackets**: With the desired text highlighted, press`Shift + 0`

(zero) which is the shortcut for the closing bracket`)`

. This action smartly places an opening bracket`(`

at the start and a closing bracket`)`

at the end of the highlighted text.

### For Mac Users

**Select the Formula**: Click on the cell that contains the formula.**Enter Edit Mode**: Press`Command + U`

to edit the cell.**Highlight the Expression**: Use your mouse or arrow keys along with the`Shift`

key to highlight the part of the formula you want to encapsulate.**Add Brackets**: Press`Shift + 9`

and`Shift + 0`

respectively to manually place the opening`(`

and closing`)`

brackets.

### Using Excel’s Formula Bar

Alternatively, you can use Excel’s formula bar to manually insert brackets:

**Select the Cell**: Click on the cell you wish to edit.**Formula Bar**: Click into the formula bar at the top of Excel.**Insert Brackets**: Place your cursor where you want the brackets and manually type them.

## Practical Examples

Here are a few practical examples to show how brackets affect calculations in Excel:

**Example 1: Basic Arithmetic**

- Without brackets:
`=10 + 5 * 2`

→ Excel calculates it as`10 + (5*2) = 20`

- With brackets:
`=(10 + 5) * 2`

→ Excel calculates it as`(10+5)*2 = 30`

**Example 2: Combining Functions**

- Without brackets:
`=AVERAGE(2, 3) * 10`

→ Excel calculates the average of 2 and 3, then multiplies by 10. - With brackets:
`=AVERAGE((2+3) * 10)`

→ Excel multiplies 2 and 3 by 10, then averages the results.

**Example 3: Logical Tests**

- Without brackets:
`=IF(A1 > 20, 100, 200) + 20`

→ Determines the IF condition first then adds 20. - With brackets:
`=IF((A1+10) > 20, 100, 200)`

→ Adds 10 to A1, then determines the IF condition.

### Using VBA to add Brackets in Excel on a Mac

To add brackets in Excel using VBA on a Mac, you can follow these steps:

- Open your Excel workbook.
- Press
`Option+F11`

to open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE). - In the VBE, go to
`Insert`

>`Module`

to create a new module. - In the new module, paste the following VBA code:

`Sub AddBrackets()`

Dim cell As Range

For Each cell In Selection

cell.Value = "[" & cell.Value & "]"

Next cell

End Sub

- Close the VBE and return to your Excel workbook.
- Select the cells where you want to add brackets.
- Go to
`Tools`

>`Macro`

>`Macros`

(or press`Option+F8`

). - In the Macro dialog box, select the
`AddBrackets`

macro and click`Run`

.

The VBA code will iterate through each cell in the selected range and add square brackets around the existing value in each cell.

Alternatively, you can assign the macro to a keyboard shortcut for easier access:

- Go to
`Tools`

>`Macro`

>`Macros`

(or press`Option+F8`

). - Select the
`AddBrackets`

macro and click`Options`

. - In the Macro Options dialog box, enter a keyboard shortcut in the
`Shortcut key`

field (e.g.,`Ctrl+Shift+B`

). - Click
`OK`

to close the Macro Options dialog box, and then click`Cancel`

to close the Macro dialog box.

Now, whenever you select a range of cells and press the assigned keyboard shortcut, the macro will run and add brackets to the selected cells.

Note: If you haven’t enabled macros in your Excel, you may need to adjust your macro security settings to allow macros to run. Go to `Excel`

> `Preferences`

> `Security`

> `Macro Security`

and choose an appropriate option to enable macros.

### Removing Brackets

To remove a set of brackets, just select the entire bracket pair and press **Delete**. Excel will automatically adjust the formula accordingly.

You can also use **Find and Replace** (Ctrl + H or Cmd + H) to quickly strip out multiple brackets at once – just enter “(” in Find and leave Replace blank.

### Other Useful Formula Shortcuts

In addition to adding brackets, there are a few other handy **Excel shortcuts** for working with formulas:

Shortcut (Windows) | Shortcut (Mac) | Action |
---|---|---|

F2 | F2 | Edit the active cell |

Ctrl + ` | Cmd + ` | Toggle between formula view and value view |

Ctrl + [ | Cmd + [ | Select all cells directly referenced by formulas in the active cell |

Shift + F3 | Fn + Shift + F3 | Open the Insert Function dialog box |

## Fixing Mismatched Brackets

One common problem when writing formulas is ending up with **mismatched brackets** – having an opening bracket without a closing one, or vice versa. This causes Excel to display a #ERROR.

To quickly find and fix mismatched brackets:

- Select the cell with the broken formula
- Press
**Ctrl + [**or**Cmd + [**to select all cells referenced by the formula - Look for highlighted brackets in the formula bar
- Add any missing opening or closing brackets

Excel will color-code brackets to help you spot problems – matching brackets will be the same color.

Red brackets usually indicate a mismatch or missing bracket.

### Avoiding Bracket Mistakes

The best way to avoid mismatched brackets is to always use a shortcut or auto-complete when adding them. Try to avoid manually typing brackets whenever possible.

Some other tips:

- Keep formulas as simple as possible
- Use spaces and line breaks to make formulas readable
- Double-check your brackets before pressing Enter
- Use the
**Evaluate Formula**tool to debug complex formulas

## Using the Evaluate Formula Tool

For more complex formulas, Excel’s **Evaluate Formula** tool is your best friend. It allows you to walk through a formula step-by-step to see how each part is being calculated.

To use Evaluate Formula:

- Select the cell with the formula you want to evaluate
- Go to
**Formulas > Formula Auditing > Evaluate Formula**(or press**Alt + T + U + F**on Windows) - Use the
**Evaluate**button to step through the formula

The Evaluate Formula tool makes it easy to see exactly how brackets are controlling the order of calculations in your formula. It’s a great way to troubleshoot and optimize complex formulas.

At each step, Evaluate Formula highlights the part of the formula currently being calculated. You can see how Excel works through the PEMDAS order of operations and how brackets group and prioritize different parts of your formula.

### Formula Auditing Shortcuts

Shortcut (Windows) | Action |
---|---|

Alt + T + U + F | Open the Evaluate Formula dialog box |

Alt + T + U + C | Trace precedents |

Alt + T + U + D | Trace dependents |

Alt + T + U + E | Show formulas |

## Final Thoughts

Brackets are a key part of writing effective **Excel formulas**. By using a simple shortcut to quickly add brackets, you can save time, reduce errors, and keep your formulas neat and readable.

With these tips and shortcuts in your toolbelt, you’ll be an Excel formula pro in no time! For more spreadsheet tips and tricks, check out our other Excel guides and tutorials.

Happy spreadsheeting!

## Frequently Asked Questions

### 1. What is the shortcut to add brackets in Excel formulas?

**Windows:**Select the portion of the formula you want to bracket, and press`Shift`+`0`(zero) while holding the`Shift`key.**Mac:**Select the portion of the formula you want to bracket, and press`Command`+`Shift`+`9`.

### 2. Can I use a shortcut to add other types of brackets, like square or curly brackets?

**Square Brackets []:**After selecting your text, press`Alt`+`Shift`+`]`to add square brackets.**Curly Brackets {}:**To add curly brackets, you will need to use the Character Map in Windows or the Emoji & Symbols viewer in macOS.

### 3. What are the benefits of using brackets in Excel formulas?

- Define the order of operations more clearly.
- Group terms to ensure correct computation.
- Enhance readability and maintainability of complex formulas.

### 4. How do I correct misplaced brackets in an Excel formula?

- Use Excel’s formula auditing tools (like
`Formula Auditing`in the`Formulas`tab) to trace errors. - Manually check the formula and adjust the brackets to correct the order of operations.
- Reevaluate the formula’s logic to ensure that all operations are correctly grouped and prioritized.

### 5. Are there any tools in Excel to help insert brackets automatically?

**Formula AutoComplete:**This feature suggests formula syntax and brackets as you type.**Function Arguments Dialog:**It helps by placing appropriate brackets when you insert functions from the dialog box.

Vaishvi Desai is the founder of Excelsamurai and a passionate Excel enthusiast with years of experience in data analysis and spreadsheet management. With a mission to help others harness the power of Excel, Vaishvi shares her expertise through concise, easy-to-follow tutorials on shortcuts, formulas, Pivot Tables, and VBA.