ABS function in excel

What is the ABS function in Excel?

The ABSOLUTE (ABS) function is one of the math functions in Excel.

It removes the sign of a number and returns just a positive number.

We can find this function in Math & trig of insert function Tab.

How to use ABS function in Excel

  1. Click on an empty cell (like F5).
How to use ABS function

2. Click on fx icon (or press shift+F3).

How to use ABS function  in excel

3. In the insert function tab you will see all functions.

insert tab in abs function in excel

4. Select math & trig category.

5. Select ABS function.

6. Then select ok.

math and trig tab in abs function in excel

7. In the function arguments Tab you will see the ABS function.

8. In the number box you must enter 1 number of (-,0,+).

function tab on abs function in excel

9. If you enter -1 result will be 1.

example of absolute function in excel

10. If you enter +1 result will be 1.

absolute function value

11. If you enter 0 result will be 0.

absolute function formula

12. You will see results in formula result at the end of function arguments Tab

abs function example

Examples of ABS function in excel

Example 1:

  1. =ABS(-5)
    • Returns the absolute value of -5, which is 5.
  2. =ABS(10)
    • Returns the absolute value of 10, which is 10.
  3. =ABS(-3.5)
    • Returns the absolute value of -3.5, which is 3.5.
  4. =ABS(0)
    • Returns the absolute value of 0, which is 0.
  5. =ABS(A1)
    • Returns the absolute value of the value in cell A1.
  6. =ABS(SUM(A1:A5))
    • Returns the absolute value of the sum of the values in cells A1 through A5.
  7. =ABS(MAX(A1:A5)-MIN(A1:A5))
    • Returns the absolute value of the difference between the maximum and minimum values in cells A1 through A5.
  8. =ABS(LOG10(100))
    • Returns the absolute value of the logarithm of 100 to base 10, which is 2.
  9. =ABS(SIN(PI()/4))
    • Returns the absolute value of the sine of pi/4 radians, which is approximately 0.707.
  10. =ABS(ROUND(AVERAGE(A1:A5),2))
    • Returns the absolute value of the rounded average of the values in cells A1 through A5, rounded to 2 decimal places.

Example 2:

How to plot Y=ABS(X) with python code in excel

we can use Python code for abs function in excel:

import numpy as np

import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

x =np.linspace(-1,+1, 100)

lenx=len(x)

y=[]

for i in range(lenx):     

y.append(abs(x[i]))     

i +=1    

plt.plot(x,y)  

plt.show() 

Example 3:

How can find number’s distance from zero?

ABS(+3) ----->>>>answer is  3

ABS(0) ----->>>>answer is  0

ABS(-3) ----->>>>answer is  3

By ABS function, we can find distance from zero.

Example 4:

How can convert negative number to positive?

By ABS function, we can change negative number to positive.

ABS(-1) ----->>>>answer is  1

ABS(-2) ----->>>>answer is  2

ABS(-3) ----->>>>answer is  3

Understanding How Excel’s ABS Function Works

The syntax for the ABS function in Excel is:

=ABS(number)

The “number” argument can be a cell reference, a formula, or a numeric value. When you apply the ABS function, it will return the absolute value of the number, which means that the result will always be positive.

The Purpose of the ABS Function in Excel: An Overview

The primary purpose of the ABS function in Excel is to calculate the absolute value of a number. By doing so, you can eliminate any negative signs and get a positive result. For example, if you have a cell with the value “-5”, applying the ABS function will return “5”.

Note: All examples in this answer use the ABS function applied to cell A1.

Using Excel’s ABS Function with Negative Numbers Only

No, the ABS function in Excel can be used with both negative and positive numbers. When you apply the ABS function to a negative number, it will return the positive equivalent of that number. For example, if you have a cell with the value “-10”, applying the ABS function will return “10”.

What Happens When You Use Excel’s ABS Function on a Positive Number?

If you apply the ABS function to a positive number in Excel, it will simply return that same number. This is because the absolute value of a positive number is itself, and there is no need to eliminate any negative sign. For example, if you have a cell with the value “5”, applying the ABS function will also return “5”.

Applying the ABS Function to a Range of Cells in Excel

You can apply the ABS function to a range of cells in Excel by first selecting the range of cells you want to apply the function to, and then adding the ABS function to one of the cells in the range. For example, if you have a range of cells (A1:A5) with different numbers, you can apply the ABS function to all of them by typing “=ABS(A1)” into cell B1 and then dragging the fill handle down to cell B5. This will apply the ABS function to all the numbers in the selected range.

Does Excel’s ABS Function Change the Sign of a Number?

No, the ABS function in Excel does not change the sign of a number. Instead, it returns the positive equivalent of that number. For example, if you have a cell with the value “-10”, applying the ABS function will return “10” without changing the sign of the original number.

Case-Sensitivity and Excel’s ABS Function

The ABS function in Excel is not case-sensitive, which means that you can use either uppercase or lowercase letters when typing out the function name. For example, “=abs(A1)” and “=ABS(A1)” will both yield the same result.

Nesting the ABS Function within Other Excel Functions

Yes, you can nest the ABS function within other Excel functions to perform more complex calculations. For example, you could use the ABS function inside an IF statement to return a certain value based on whether a number is positive or negative. For example, if you have a cell with the value “-5”, you could use the following formula to return “Negative” in another cell:

=IF(ABS(A1)=A1,"Positive","Negative")

ABS vs. MINUS: Understanding the Difference in Excel

The ABS function in Excel calculates the absolute value of a number, while the MINUS function changes the sign of a number from positive to negative or vice versa. For example, if you have a cell with the value “-5”, applying the ABS function will return “5”, while applying the MINUS function will return “5”.

Using Excel’s ABS Function with Non-Numeric Values

The ABS function in Excel only works with numeric values. If you try to apply the ABS function to a cell containing a non-numeric value, such as text or a blank cell, it will return a #VALUE! error. For example, if you have a cell with the value “hello”, applying the ABS function will return a #VALUE! error.

Practical Applications of Excel’s ABS Function

The ABS function in Excel has many practical applications, such as:

  • Removing negative signs from values that would otherwise produce errors in other calculations.
  • Calculating distance or magnitude where direction is not important.
  • Determining the deviation from a target value without regard to whether the deviation is positive or negative.

For example, if you are calculating the average deviation between actual sales and target sales for a group of salespeople, using the ABS function will ensure that both overages and underages are counted equally.

Formatting the Output of Excel’s ABS Function

You can format the output of the ABS function in Excel just like any other cell. For example, you can apply a specific number format (such as currency or percentage) to show the absolute value in a more meaningful way.

For example, if you have a cell with the value “-10”, applying the ABS function will return “10”. If you then apply a currency format to the cell, it will display “$10.00”.

Availability of the ABS Function in All Versions of Excel

The ABS function is available in all versions of Excel, including Excel 365, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, and earlier versions.

Using the ABS Function in Conditional Formatting in Excel

You can use the ABS function in conditional formatting in Excel to highlight cells that meet certain criteria based on their absolute value. For example, you could highlight all cells in a column that have an absolute value greater than a certain threshold.

For example, if you have a range of cells (A1:A5) with different positive and negative numbers, you could use the following formula to highlight all cells with an absolute value greater than 5:

  • Select range A1:A5
  • Go to Home > Conditional Formatting > New Rule
  • Choose “Use a formula to determine which cells to format”
  • Enter the formula =ABS(A1)>5
  • Choose a formatting style for the highlighted cells
  • Click “OK” to apply the rule.

Troubleshooting Issues with Excel’s ABS Function

If you encounter issues with the ABS function in Excel, some common troubleshooting steps include:

  • Check that the argument provided to the ABS function is a numeric value or a reference to a cell containing a numeric value.
  • Make sure that there are no extra spaces or characters in the argument provided to the ABS function.

Limitations of Using Excel’s ABS Function

While the ABS function in Excel is a useful tool, it does have some limitations. For example:

  • The ABS function only works with numeric values and cannot be used with text or other non-numeric data.
  • The ABS function can only return positive values and cannot be used to calculate a negative absolute value.

Combining Excel’s ABS Function with Other Functions

You can combine the ABS function with other functions in Excel to perform more complex calculations. For example, you could use the ABS function inside a SUM or AVERAGE function to calculate the absolute sum or average of a range of cells.

For example, if you have a range of cells (A1:A5) with different positive and negative values, you could use the following formula to calculate the absolute sum of the range:





=SUM(ABS(A1:A5))

Excel’s ABS Function vs. ROUND Function: What Sets Them Apart?

The ABS function in Excel calculates the absolute value of a number, while the ROUND function rounds a number to a specified number of decimal places. For example, if you have a cell with the value “3.14159”, applying the ABS function will return “3.14159”, while applying the ROUND function to two decimal places will return “3.14”.

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