The area of the parallelogram is the absolute value of the determinant of the matrix formed by the vectors representing the parallelogram's sides.

The rule of Sarrus is a mnemonic for this formula: the sum of the products of three diagonal north-west to south-east lines of matrix elements, minus the sum of the products of three diagonal south-west to north-east lines of elements, when the copies of the first two columns of the matrix are written beside it as in the illustration:

This scheme for calculating the determinant of a 3 × 3 matrix does not carry over into higher dimensions.

Laplace expansion can be used iteratively for computing determinants, but this approach is inefficient for large matrices. However, it is useful for computing the determinants of highly symmetric matrix such as the Vandermonde matrix

Thus the adjugate matrix can be used for expressing the inverse of a nonsingular matrix:

The product of all non-zero eigenvalues is referred to as pseudo-determinant.

For matrices with an infinite number of rows and columns, the above definitions of the determinant do not carry over directly. For example, in the Leibniz formula, an infinite sum (all of whose terms are infinite products) would have to be calculated. Functional analysis provides different extensions of the determinant for such infinite-dimensional situations, which however only work for particular kinds of operators.

Another infinite-dimensional notion of determinant is the functional determinant.