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Exponentiating a negative number by an even exponent gives the wrong answer

Question asked by Jeremiah_Hammond on Jun 21, 2018
Latest reply on Jun 26, 2018 by ThierryGuemboura

For example FileMaker outputs 25 as the answer to -5^2, but the correct answer is -25


  • On FileMaker Pro Advanced 17.0.1, macOS High Sierra 10.13.4
  • To replicate: Create the following expression in Data Viewer: -5^2. It'll give you 25, but it should be -25. Exponentiating a negative number by any even exponent will give you the wrong answer. FileMaker appears to assume -5^2 is (-5)^2 but that assumption is wrong in mathematics. FileMaker should be following the rules of math, as that's what developers expect.
  • Exponentiating by an odd number works, oddly enough. FileMaker outputs -125 for -5^3, which is correct. It's only even exponents that don't work, like -5^2, -5^4, etc
  • Workaround: Change the negative number to a positive and multiply by -1. For example, change -5^2 to -1 * 5^2


Edit: Moved things around a bit for clarity