Staying Positive: Using the ABS Formula in Excel


Negative numbers are important and all, but let's face it... sometimes we just need to keep things positive.  Am I right?

So given a list of numbers, is there a formula that gives the positive version of it?  Why yes, the ABS function!

Sadly, ABS won't reach through your computer and give you a six pack.  That's the SIXPACK function... kidding.  Let's see how ABS works, pretty simple:

=ABS(number,cell reference, or embedded formula)

Notice, however, that ABS doesn't just skip over text--if it encounters a non-number, ABS spins off an error.  So if there's a chance you've got dirty data, may want to put some error checking in there (e.g., "=IF(ISERROR(ABS(")

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