How to use the ABS function in Excel

In this article, we will learn How to use the ABS function in Excel.

What is absolute value in mathematics ?

In Mathematics, there is an operator name absolute value. It only returns positive numbers but don't change the numerical value. For example absolute value of -12.5 be +12.5 and absolute value of +12.5 be +12.5

Excel provides a function to operate absolute value using the ABS function. For example, the square root of negative numbers is error in Excel. So use ABS function inside the square root operation in Excel. Or obtaining subtraction of two values and doesn't care about the sign of result. Let's learn ABS function syntax and an example to illustrate the function usage as shown below

ABS Function in Excel

The ABS function just changes the negative numbers to positive numbers but don't change the positive number

ABS Function syntax:


number : number value

Example :

All of these might be confusing to understand. Let's understand how to use the function using an example. Here In Cell A2 I am subtracting 20 from 10. When I encapsulate it with the ABS formula, see what we get.



We get 10 instead of -10.

That’s it. This is how you get absolute value in Excel.

When and how to use ABS function?

You can use this function where values are always positive. Like distance.

Supply any expression to the ABS function, which will result in a number. ABS function will return the distance of that number from 0 on the number line. And this what absolute value means.

Here are all the observational notes using the ABS function in Excel
Notes :

  1. The formula only works with numbers.
  2. The formula returns the number rounded off to any decimal places.
  3. Negative argument as decimal rounds the number to integer side.
  4. Blank cells as an argument takes as zero value and returns 0 as result, so make sure to check blank cells before.
  5. The function returns #VALUE! Error if the text value or numbers as text value.

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