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Excel SQRT Function

We use Excel SQRT function when we want to get the square root of a positive number. The SQRT function will return an error if supplied with a negative number. To fully understand how this function works, read this step-by-step guide on how to use the Excel SQRT function.

Figure 1: Use of SQRT function

Syntax of the formula


Where number refers to the number of which you want to get the square root of.

The function only works with positive numbers, and will return a positive result. It will return a #NUM! error if applied on a negative number, as shown in the example above.

But you can still get the square root of a negative number by wrapping the number in the ABS function.

Example: Finding square root of negative number

Figure 2: Square root of negative numbers

Notice that the numbers in column A are all negative numbers. We have wrapped the numbers in an ABS function to get the square root of the negative numbers. The formula in cell B2 in the example above looks like below:


We then copy down the formula to apply it to all the other cells.

Most of the time, the problem you will need to solve will be more complex than a simple application of a formula or function. If you want to save hours of research and frustration, try our live Excelchatservice! Our Excel Experts are available 24/7 to answer any Excel question you may have. We guarantee a connection within 30 seconds and a customized solution within 20 minutes.

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Another blog reader asked this question today on Excelchat:
Here are some problems that our users have asked and received explanations on

I need to put an error propagation formula into excel and it is not working. This is what I've entered ABS([@d])*SQRT{.0000000313+[129600/(32400-[@[Mass(m)]]^2)]*[.01+(8100/[@[Mass(m)]]^2)*.01]}
Solved by K. H. in 24 mins
i want to appy '=ASIN(SQRT(' to a set of cells and cannot work out how? Its 225 cells and it would take me all night to do them individually
Solved by G. H. in 11 mins
I am trying to do a standard error for my data =stdev(cell)/(sqrt(number of samples)). However it keeps coming up with #DIV/0! even though none of the numbers are 0, so nothing is being divided by 0? I have tried entering the values manually rather than clicking on the required cells too but even that is giving the same issue.
Solved by X. H. in 14 mins

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