Some time ago, there was a very interesting discussion in my favorite German “Office-Lösung” Office forum. A user asked, if it is possible to calculate the value of 80 ^ 200 in Excel. As the precision is limited in Excel to 15 digits, using an Excel formula will lead to result which will be cut from the 16th digit. And, because the default data types in VBA are also limited by their range of values, a simple function in VBA will not work.
Heinz Schweigert, a User of the forum, had the idea if to use my implementation of the Karatsuba algorithm for the calculation of 80 ^200. My application uses strings for representing large numbers and therefore bypasses the limitations mentioned before. And the number of partial multiplications needed for multiplying two large numbers is significantly reduced by the use of the Karatsuba algorithm.
However, the code of my application was originally designed for multiplying large numbers by themselves. But Heinz had fortunately created a customized version of my code for performing an exponentiation and provided the changes to the forum.
This article is the first one of my article series about the implementation in VBA of the base arithmetic functions for large numbers. Then I will put all functions together and create an Excel Add-In, which will be downloadable from this site. And, if I got the time, I will extend the Add-In by new features or more functions in the future. By the way, my goal is not to compute gigantic numbers or beat some speed records but just only to provide fast enough functions for calculating large numbers and being used for normal requirements.
Addition of large numbers in Excel
This article series starts with a function for adding two large numbers. At this point, thanks again to Heinz for providing some ideas for improving my original functions.