How To Use IMDIV Function in Google Sheets

The IMDIV function in Google Sheets is useful when you need to divide a complex number with another complex number.

Complex numbers need specialized functions like IMDIV since regular mathematical functions cannot handle input in the form a + bi or a + bj. With this function, you can indicate a dividend and a divisor and return the quotient of two complex numbers

The rules for using the IMDIV function in Google Sheets are as follows:

  • The function requires two arguments: a dividend and a divisor.
  • The function then returns the quotient of the two complex numbers

Let’s begin with a quick use case to understand how we can use this function.

For example, let’s say we have a list of complex numbers. We want to output the same list, but with each number halved. It may sound straightforward, but we will soon see that there is an issue when we try to just use the usual division operation.

Regular division does not work on most complex numbers

In the table above, we tried dividing each complex number by 2. We encounter an error for most of these values because Google Sheets treats complex numbers as text.

With the IMDIV function it becomes quite easy for us to work around this limitation and do even more as well. The IMDIV function allows us to perform division between two complex numbers as well.

Now that we know when to use the IMDIV function, let’s look into how to begin using the IMDIV function!



The Anatomy of the IMDIV Function

So the syntax (the way we write) the IMDIV function is as follows:

=IMDIV(dividend, divisor)

Let’s dissect this thing and understand what each of these terms means:

  • = the equal sign is how we start any function in Google Sheets.
  • IMDIV() is our IMDIV function. It computes the quotient of the two arguments provided.
  • dividend is the number to be divided (numerator)
  • divisor is the number to divide by (divisor)



A Real Example of Using IMDIV Function

Let’s look into an example of the IMDIV function being used in an actual Google Sheet spreadsheet.

In the example below, we have three columns to help us divide complex numbers. Column D returns the quotient of Columns B and C.

Using IMDIV Function in Google Sheets to get the quotient of a given set of dividend and divisor pairs

To get the values in Column D, we just need to use the following formula:

=IMDIV(B2, C2)

You can make a copy of the spreadsheet above using the link I have attached below. 

In the example below, we have our divisor as a constant, in this case two. Our second column outputs half of the complex number found in the first column. Note that real numbers such as 12 and 10 behave exactly the same as regular division even when using this method.

Using IMDIV Function in Google Sheets to output half of a given complex number

If you’re ready to try out the IMDIV function in Google Sheets, let’s try writing it ourselves.



How to Use IMDIV Function in Google Sheets

  1. To start using the IMDIV function, select the cell we will first put our function’s output. In this example, we’ll start with cell  D2
    Select a cell to input the result of our IMDIV Function in Google Sheets

  2. Next, we just simply type the equal sign ‘=‘ to begin the function, followed by ‘IMDIV(‘. 
  3. As seen below, a tooltip box appears with hints on how to use the IMDIV function. We can just click on the arrow on the top-right-hand corner to minimize it if necessary.
    Typing IMDIV Function in Google Sheets into our Formula Bar

  4. The next step is to type our arguments. In this case, we will need our dividend and divisor. For our first quotient, we can find our arguments cell B2 and cell C2
    Afterward, simply hit Enter on your keyboard to let the function evaluate.
    The result or quotient of our IMDIV Function in Google Sheets

  5. We can see now that the formula works. Dragging down the formula from this result will fill out the rest of column D.
    Drag down the first formula to fill out the entire column with our IMDIV results



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Why does my formula output a #NUM! error?
It’s possible that either your dividend or divisor is incorrectly formatted. Make sure that your arguments follow the a+bi or a+bj format. 

2. How do I make sure that my arguments are always a valid complex number?
To ensure that your input is always valid, we can use the COMPLEX function to create our complex numbers. For example, we can use the formula =COMPLEX(2, 4, ”i”) to create the complex number ‘2 + 4i’

This step-by-step guide shows how easy it is to divide two complex numbers using the IMDIV function in Google Sheets. 

You can now use the IMDIV functions in Google Sheets together with the various other Google Sheets formulas available to create great worksheets that work for you. 

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