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Excel ABS Function

Excel allows us to get an absolute value of a number, by using the ABS function. The ABS function converts a negative number to a positive This step by step tutorial will assist all levels of Excel users in getting an absolute value of a number.

Figure 1. The result of the ABS function

Syntax of the ABS Formula

The generic formula for the ABS function is:


The parameters of the ABS function are:

  • number – a number which we want to convert from negative to positive.

Setting up Our Data for the ABS Function

In column B (“Number”), we have the list of numbers and in column C (“Absolute number”), we want to get an absolute value for the numbers.

Figure 2. Data that we will use in the ABS example

Get an Absolute Value for a Number

In our example, we want to get absolute values for numbers from column B in column C.

The formula in the cell C3 is:


The parameter number is the cell B3.

To apply the ABS function, we need to follow these steps:

  • Select cell C3 and click on it
  • Insert the formula: =ABS(B3)
  • Press enter
  • Drag the formula down to the other cells in the column by clicking and dragging the little “+” icon at the bottom-right of the cell.

Figure 3. Using the ABS function

As you can see, the value from B3 (-123) is converted to its absolute value (123).

Most of the time, the problem you will need to solve will be more complex than a simple application of a formula or function. If you want to save hours of research and frustration, try our live Excelchat service! Our Excel Experts are available 24/7 to answer any Excel question you may have. We guarantee a connection within 30 seconds and a customized solution within 20 minutes.

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Another blog reader asked this question today on Excelchat:
Here are some problems that our users have asked and received explanations on

Problem with this formula: =INDEX($CQ$5:$CQ$13,MATCH(MIN(ABS(AD22-CQ5:CQ13)),ABS(AD22-$CQ$5:$CQ$13),0))
Solved by Z. W. in 22 mins
I cant seem to absolute a set of numbers despite using the =abs() funtion?
Solved by D. F. in 17 mins
I cant seem to absolute a set of numbers despite using the =abs() function?
Solved by I. D. in 16 mins

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