How To Use the PI Function in Excel (With 4 Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published April 8, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many professionals use Excel to complete calculations, which helps them convey information to spreadsheet users. There are several mathematical functions, such as PI, that can help individuals easily complete calculations. If you're an architect, designer, statistician or another professiona l who uses geometric or mathematical functions, learning how to use the PI function can help you calculate formulas that use pi. In this article, we discuss what the PI function is, review why this function is important, explore how to use it and examine some tips to help you use the PI function effectively.

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What is a PI function in Excel?

The PI function in Excel helps you use the geometric constant, pi or π, in mathematical equations. Excel returns 15 of the infinite digits of this mathematical constant. Pi compares the circumference of a circle to the circle's diameter and is the same regardless of the circle's size. This function can help you increase your calculation efficiency because you can input one function instead of typing the different numerical values of pi.

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Why is it important to use the PI function?

The PI function is useful for a variety of professionals, including architects, statisticians, aeronautical engineers, navigators, fashion designers and artists. This function is important because it helps professionals understand more about:

  • Circumference of a circle

  • Area of a circle

  • Volume of a cylinder

  • Angle measurements in degrees

  • Surface area of a cone

  • Volume of a cone

  • Surface area of a cylinder

  • Volume of a sphere

  • Surface area of a sphere

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How to use the PI function in Excel

The PI function is useful on its own or in conjunction with the DEGREES function. Review these steps to help you use the PI function in your spreadsheet:

1. Start your formula

To start your calculation, select the cell you want your result. Then, type "=" which is how Excel labels mathematical formulas. Another method to start your formula is by clicking the "Insert Function" button in the formula bar, which automatically generates an "=" sign in the formula bar.

2. Enter the function

If you start your formula using the "=" sign, then you can start typing your formula. The PI formula looks similar to "PI()." If you start your formula using the "Insert Function" button, you can search for the PI function in the search criteria bar. Once you find the PI function, select "OK." This generates another pop-up window that informs you about the formula and that it requires no additional input to generate a result.

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3. Complete your formula

The PI function is useful for many calculations. To complete your formula as you type, you can enter "PI()" followed by the rest of your mathematical equation. Some examples of formulas using the PI function include:

  • PI()/2: This calculation divides pi by two.

  • *PI()*5: This calculation multiplies pi by five.*

  • *PI()+3: This calculation adds three to pi.*

  • *PI()-5: This calculation subtracts five from pi.*

4. Generate your result

To generate your result, you can press "Enter" on your keyboard. Another method to complete your formula includes pressing the "Enter" button in the formula bar. This executes your calculation and delivers the result. To modify your formula, you can click the section you want to adjust in the formula bar. Some examples of finished calculations include:

  • "=PI()/2" which equals 1.570796

  • "=PI()*5" which equals 15.70796

  • "=PI()+3" which equals 6.141593

  • "=PI()-5" which equals -1.85841

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How to use the DEGREES function with PI

Understanding how to use the DEGREES function in conjunction with the PI function can help you discover the degree value of an angle. This can help professionals better understand the specific measurements of a space. Review these steps to help you apply this concept:

1. Start the formula

Similar to any function, the start of any formula or function begins with an equal sign. You can also start your formula by selecting the "Input Function" button on the formula bar. Selecting this button generates a pop-up window that enables you to search and select a function from all functions programmed into Excel.

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2. Enter your function

Type in "DEGREES" to start your calculation followed by an open parenthesis sign. Following this sign, you can input the PI function, which converts pi into its degree equivalent. After you input the PI function, you can add a close parenthesis sign to complete the formula. Ensure you add this sign to prevent any Excel calculation errors.

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3. Generate your result

After you've completed your formula, you can press enter to generate a result. To adjust your formula, you can select the cell you want to adjust and change the formula in the formula bar. Some common examples of the DEGREES function include:

  • "=DEGREES(PI())" which equals 180 degrees

  • "=DEGREES(2*PI()) which equals 360 degrees

  • "=DEGREES(PI()/2) which equals 90 degrees

Tips for using the PI function

Review these tips to help you understand how to apply the PI function to your documents calculations:

  • Adjust the decimal place: Adjusting the decimal placement of your cell can help you improve the accuracy of your calculation. If you decrease your decimal placement, it starts to round your calculation to the nearest zero.

  • Use additional functions: There are many functions that can benefit from using the PI function. Some common functions that might use pi include SUM, RADIANS, AVERAGE and PRODUCT.

  • Adjust column widths: Modifying the column width of your cells can help you visualize the entire result of your calculation. You can adjust column width by double-clicking on the affected column or manually adjusting the column's size.

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