BITXOR: Google Sheets Formulae Explained

The BITXOR function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool that can be used to perform bitwise XOR operations on numbers. This function is part of the suite of bitwise functions available in Google Sheets, which also includes BITAND, BITOR, and others. These functions allow users to perform operations on the binary representations of numbers, providing a level of control and precision that is not possible with standard arithmetic operations. In this guide, we will delve into the specifics of the BITXOR function, its usage, and its applications.

Understanding the BITXOR Function

The BITXOR function performs a bitwise XOR (exclusive OR) operation on two numbers. In binary logic, the XOR operation returns true if the number of true inputs is odd. In other words, it returns true if exactly one of the inputs is true. This is the logic that the BITXOR function follows when it operates on the binary representations of numbers.

To understand how the BITXOR function works, it's important to first understand how binary numbers work. Binary numbers are composed of bits, which are the smallest unit of data in a computer. Each bit can be either 0 or 1. When you perform a bitwise operation on a number, you're actually performing that operation on each individual bit of the number's binary representation.

BITXOR Syntax and Parameters

The syntax for the BITXOR function is as follows: BITXOR(number1, number2). The function takes two parameters: number1 and number2. These parameters represent the two numbers on which the bitwise XOR operation will be performed.

Both parameters must be integers between 0 and 9,007,199,254,740,991. If either parameter is outside this range, or if either parameter is not an integer, the function will return an error. This is because the BITXOR function operates on the binary representations of numbers, and numbers outside this range cannot be accurately represented in binary within the constraints of the function.

Using the BITXOR Function

Now that we understand what the BITXOR function does and how it works, let's look at how to use it. The process is quite straightforward, especially if you're already familiar with using functions in Google Sheets.

First, you'll need to open your Google Sheets document and navigate to the cell where you want the result of the BITXOR function to appear. Then, you'll need to enter the function into the cell. You can do this by typing the function directly into the cell, or by using the 'Insert function' option in the Google Sheets menu.

Example of BITXOR Usage

Let's say we want to perform a bitwise XOR operation on the numbers 5 and 3. In binary, 5 is represented as 101 and 3 is represented as 011. The XOR operation will compare each corresponding pair of bits and return 1 if exactly one of the bits is 1. So, the result of the operation will be 110, which is 6 in decimal.

To perform this operation in Google Sheets, you would enter the following into a cell: =BITXOR(5, 3). After pressing enter, the cell will display the result of the operation, which is 6.

Applications of the BITXOR Function

The BITXOR function can be used in a variety of applications, particularly in fields that require precise control over binary data. Some of these applications include data analysis, cryptography, and computer programming.

In data analysis, the BITXOR function can be used to compare binary data and identify differences. This can be useful in situations where you need to compare two sets of data and identify any discrepancies between them.

BITXOR in Cryptography

In cryptography, the BITXOR function can be used in the creation of cryptographic algorithms. XOR operations are a fundamental part of many cryptographic algorithms, as they allow for the creation of complex and unpredictable patterns of data. This makes them an essential tool in the creation of secure encryption keys.

For example, in a simple XOR cipher, the plaintext is XORed with a secret key to produce the ciphertext. The same key is then used to XOR the ciphertext, producing the original plaintext. This is a simple example of how the BITXOR function can be used in cryptography.

BITXOR in Computer Programming

In computer programming, the BITXOR function can be used to manipulate binary data. This can be useful in a variety of situations, such as when you need to toggle certain bits in a binary number, or when you need to perform bitwise operations on data for performance reasons.

For example, in some programming languages, bitwise operations can be used to perform certain tasks more efficiently than using standard arithmetic operations. This is because bitwise operations can be performed directly on the binary representation of a number, bypassing the need for more complex calculations.


The BITXOR function in Google Sheets is a powerful tool that allows users to perform bitwise XOR operations on numbers. With a solid understanding of binary numbers and bitwise operations, you can use this function to perform complex calculations, analyze data, create cryptographic algorithms, and more.

While the BITXOR function may seem complex at first, with a bit of practice, you'll find that it's a versatile and useful tool. So, don't be afraid to experiment with it and see what you can do. The possibilities are endless!

Take Your Data Analysis Further with Causal

If you're intrigued by the power of functions like BITXOR and want to elevate your data analysis, Causal is the perfect next step. As an intuitive alternative to traditional spreadsheets, Causal is tailored for number crunching and data visualization. Whether you're modeling, forecasting, or planning scenarios, Causal simplifies the process and enhances your presentations with interactive dashboards. Ready to transform your data experience? Sign up today and start exploring the possibilities with Causal's easy-to-use platform.

Move beyond 

Google Sheets

Get started with Causal today.
Build models effortlessly, connect them directly to your data, and share them with interactive dashboards and beautiful visuals.