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How to Calculate Cube Roots in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are three easy ways to calculate cube roots in Excel: the caret ^ operator, the POWER() function, and custom VBA functions.
Jun 2024  · 6 min read

In this tutorial, we’ll show you three easy ways to calculate cube roots in Excel: You can do it by using the caret ^ operator, the POWER() function, or by using a custom VBA function. 

To gain more insights into Excel, check out our Excel Fundamentals skill track and our Data Preparation in Excel course. These resources will help you understand the fundamental concepts of Excel before getting into cube roots. 

The Quick Answer: How to Calculate Cube Root in Excel 

There are three ways to calculate cube root in Excel:

  • Using the Caret ^ Operator: To calculate the cube root using ^, type =A1 ^ (1/3),  where A1 is the cell containing the number.

  • Using the POWER() Function: To calculate the cube root using POWER(), type =POWER(A1, 1/3), where A1 is the cell containing the number.

  • Using a Custom VBA Function: You can also create a custom Visual Basic Application (VBA) function, which we cover in detail below. 

A Quick Refresher on Cube Roots

While the square root function is well-known due to its use in introductory algebra and statistics classes, cube roots are no less helpful in many advanced mathematical and scientific applications.

To review, the cube root of a number is the value that, when multiplied by itself three times, equals the original number. For example, the cube root of 27 is equal to 3, as three multiplied by itself three times equals 27.

If you're feeling a bit unsure about concepts like powers, roots, and their applications in data, don't worry.  Data professionals from all levels and backgrounds will sometimes need a quick math refresher. This is where DataCamp's courses can be incredibly helpful. Our Introduction to Excel course covers everything from Excel basics to more advanced operations.

Why You Should Know About Cube Roots 

Far from being an academic subject, cube roots are important in many practical ways. Let’s explore some of the reasons. 

  • Volume Calculations: They are used to find the original dimensions of an object when its volume is known. For example, if you know the volume of a cube, you can find the length of its sides using the cube root.
  • Scaling and Proportions: They help understand how dimension changes affect volume. This is helpful in fields like architecture and engineering, where you have to scale the models accurately.
  • Data Normalization: Cube roots can normalize data by transforming values to a common scale. For example, in financial modeling, when dealing with highly skewed income data, applying the cube root transformation can reduce skewness.
  • Physical Sciences: They are also used in various calculations, such as determining the radius of a sphere from its volume.

Methods to Calculate the Cube Root in Excel

As mentioned earlier, there are three methods for calculating the cube root of a number in Excel, each with an acceptable application, depending on your needs. Let's review in detail. 

Using the POWER() function

When you raise a number to a fraction, you are essentially taking the root of the number. The denominator of the fraction indicates the root, while the numerator indicates the power to which the number is raised. In our case, when we raise a number to the power of 1/3, we are taking the cube root of that number. 

To do this, we use the POWER() function for exponentiation. Here’s the formula so you can use it: =POWER(number, 1/3). Just replace number with the cell reference or value for which you want to find the cube root. For example, to get the cube root of 8, you would use =POWER(A2, 1/3).

Cube root in excel

Implementing POWER function. Source: Image by author

Using the caret (^) operator

The caret (^) operator is also used to raise a number to a power in a formula. It is similar in functionality to the POWER() function; the difference is syntax. 

Here’s the formula so you can use it: =number^(1/3). Just replace number with the cell reference or value for which you want to find the cube root. For example, to find the cube root of 8, you would use =A2 ^ (1/3).

calculating cube root in excel

Implementing CARET operator. Source: Image by author

Creating a custom function using Visual Basic 

For more advanced use, you can define a custom function in VBA to calculate the cube root.

First, open the workbook where you want to use the custom cube root function. Then press Alt + F11 to open the VBA editor.

Opening a VBA editor in excel

VBA editor interface. Source: Image by author 

Insert a new module (Insert > Module). 

new module in the VBA editor

Inserting a new module in the VBA editor. Source: Image by author

Inside the module, apply the following VBA code:

Function CubeRoot(number As Double) As Double
    CubeRoot = number ^ (1 / 3)
End Function

custom cube root function

Creating a custom cube root function in the VBA editor. Source: Image by author

Close the VBA editor by pressing Alt + Q.

You can now use the custom CubeRoot function in any cell in your workbook. You do this by entering, for example, =CubeRoot(8) in an empty cell.

Using a custom-designed cube root function

Calculating cube root using a custom-designed function. Source: Image by author 

Or you can use =CubeRoot(A1) if the number is in a cell such as A1.

Using a custom-designed cube root function

Calculating cube root using a custom-designed function. Source: Image by author

Extending to nth Roots

Our methods can be generalized to calculate any roots. Just replace n with the root you wish to calculate.

=POWER(number, 1/n)
=number^(1/n)

For example, the fourth root of 81:

=POWER(81, 1/4)
=81^(1/4)

Final Thoughts

Cube roots in Excel are a valuable boost to your analytical power when working in data analysis, data science, or data engineering. 

If you want to solve your problems quickly, Excel formulas are handy. Check out our Excel Formulas Cheat Sheet to learn functions that can automate tasks and provide quick data insights. 

Once you’re familiar with Excel formulas, take your analytical skills further. Check out our Data Analysis in Excel course for comprehensive lessons, and if you want to take your visualization skills to the next level, consider also taking our Data Visualization in Excel course, which is a good companion.  

Happy learning!


Photo of Laiba Siddiqui
Author
Laiba Siddiqui

I'm a content strategist who loves simplifying complex topics. I’ve helped companies like Splunk, Hackernoon, and Tiiny Host create engaging and informative content for their audiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is calculating cube roots important in data science and engineering?

Calculating cube roots is important for several reasons, as it often relates to understanding and manipulating three-dimensional data, geometric properties, and other power-related transformations.

Is there a built-in function in Excel specifically for cube roots?

No, Excel does not have a built-in cube root function, but you can easily calculate it using the ^ operator or the POWER() function.

How can I calculate the cube root of a number in an Excel array formula?

Use the ^ operator or the POWER() function within an array formula. For example, =A1:A10^(1/3) or =POWER(A1:A10, 1/3) will return the cube roots of the numbers in the array range A1.

Is there a performance difference between using the ^ operator and the POWER() function in Excel?

The performance difference between these functions is negligible. Both methods are efficient and yield the same result.

What should I do if I get a #NUM! error when calculating a cube root?

Ensure that the formula syntax is correct and that the number you are trying to find the cube root of is appropriate for the operation.

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