Frequently asked questions - Calc

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When I calculate - x^2, LibreOffice calculates (-x)^2. Why?

When you enter a formula of the type:

 = - 10^2

the sign - is not seen as a subtraction symbol, but as the sign that number 10 is negative. Thus LibreOffice interprets the formula:

 = (-10)^2

The result seems false from the mathematical point of view: in terms of the priority of operators, raising to a power should be done before subtraction. LibO seems to do the opposite. The reason is that for LibO, subtraction is a binary operation, which needs two values, one to the left and one to the right. If there is only one value to the right, the minus sign is a unitary operator which then takes priority. To avoid all ambiguïty, it is recommended to use parentheses:

 = - (10^2)

or to use the power function:

= - POWER(10;2)

Debates dealing with the opportunity of correcting this bug can be found at i#66735.