How to Find the Absolute Value in Excel (ABS Function)

Written by co-founder Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist.

Numbers in Excel could either be positive or negative.

Sometimes, due to formulas and calculations, the resulting numbers could be negative.

Unfortunately, there are cases where you would want all the numbers in your spreadsheet to be positive.

In this article, let’s explore the ‘ABS’ function and learn how to use it.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Introduction to the ABS function

By definition, an absolute value is the distance of a number on the number line from number 0.

Absolute values are never zero.

The ‘ABS’ function has one purpose:

To return the absolute value of a number.

In essence, negative numbers are turned positive. Positive numbers aren’t affected by the ‘ABS’ function.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Get your FREE exercise file

Before you start:

Throughout this guide, you need a data set to practice.

I’ve included one for you (for free).

Download it right below!

Download the FREE Exercise File

Download exercise file

ABS function syntax

The syntax of the ‘ABS’ function is simple and easy to understand.

Here it is:

=ABS (number)

The ‘number’ parameter is the number to get the absolute value of.

ABS function usage

Now, let’s put the ‘ABS’ function to use.

Let’s have this sample worksheet with values:

Sample worksheet for finding the absolute value

To find the absolute value of those numbers, simply enter the syntax of the ‘ABS’ function.

How to use the ABS function in Excel

Apply the syntax to all the values.

How to apply the ABS function to all values

As you can see, all the numbers are now positive, even those with decimals.

Expectedly, the function has no effect on positive numbers and on the number zero.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto

Wrapping things up…

Knowing how to use the ‘ABS’ function in Excel saves you the hassle from redoing all the negative numbers to positive numbers. Think about how long it would take you to do that if you have functions and formulas in your spreadsheet that result in thousands of values.

The ‘ABS’ function is one of the easiest and simplest functions in Microsoft Excel. But if you need to practice using it, simply download the sample file in this tutorial as it contains the sample set we used.

Kasper Langmann, Co-founder of Spreadsheeto