In mathematics, factoring, also referred to as factorization, involves breaking down a number (if possible) into a product of several factors.


Factoring 24:

24 = 2 × 2 × 2 × 3

It is also possible to factor other mathematical objects, such as polynomials.


x2 - 16 = (x - 4)(x + 4)

The above is an example of an expression that is relatively easy to factor. The format of the expression, a2 - b2, is referred to as a difference of squares.

When you see an expression of this format, you can factor it as shown above.

See also prime factorization, difference of squares.