Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Determining the Least Common Multiple.

Determining the Least Common Multiple

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 30, 2023)
This tip applies to Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365


1

Remember your junior-high math classes? The teacher would write three or four numbers on the chalkboard and ask you to determine what larger number each of the numbers on the board could be a factor of. For instance, if the numbers were 2, 3,and 4, then they are all factors of the number 12. Thus, 12 is the least common multiple of those three numbers.

Things got really difficult when the teacher threw up six, seven, or ten numbers. Yikes! Fortunately, Excel makes calculating the least common multiple rather easy. All you need to do is put the numbers in a range of cells, and then use a formula like this:

=LCM(C20:C23)

In just a jiffy Excel returns a value that, sure enough, would have made that math teacher proud.

Just one gotcha here: If you use non-integer values with the LCM function, everything past the decimal point is ignored. In other words, the values are truncated before LCM does its magic. So, the bottom line is to make sure you are working with actual integers with LCM.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5833) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Determining the Least Common Multiple.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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What is one more than 7?

2023-09-30 10:26:18

J. Woolley

The Tip's example can also be entered like this:
=LCM(C20,C21,C22,C23)
or any related comination.
You might also be interested in the greatest common divisor:
=GCD(...)


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