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A to Z of Excel Functions: The BESSELJ Function

7 November 2016

Welcome back to our regular A to Z of Excel Functions blog.  Today we look at the BESSELJ function.

The BESSELJ function

Bessel functions were first defined by the mathematician Daniel Bernoulli and then generalised by Friedrich Bessel as the canonical solutions y(x) of the differential equation

(known as Bessel's differential equation) for an arbitrary complex number α, the order of the Bessel function.  Although α and −α produce the same differential equation for real α, it is conventional to define different Bessel functions for these two values in such a way that the Bessel functions are mostly smooth functions of α.

This is not meant to be a mathematical lecture.  I will be out of my depth very quickly.  Essentially, Excel has four modified Bessel functions, which may be used by specialists as and when needed.  BESSELJ returns the Bessel function.

The BESSELJ function employs the following syntax to operate:


The BESSELJ function has the following arguments:

  • x: required.  This is the value at which to evaluate the function
  • n: also required.  This represents the order of the Bessel function.  If n is not an integer, it is truncated accordingly.

It should be further noted that:

  • If x is nonnumeric, BESSELJ returns the #VALUE! error value
  • If n is nonnumeric, BESSELJ returns the #VALUE! error value
  • If n < 0, BESSELJ returns the #NUM! error value
  • The nth order modified Bessel function of the variable x is:


is the Gamma function (ah yes, that makes it all clear now).

I present another out-of-my-depth example below:

We’ll continue our A to Z of Excel Functions soon.  Keep checking back – there’s a new blog post every other business day.