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How To Use ABS Function In Microsoft Excel

What Does it Do ?
ABS function in Microsoft Excel calculates the value of a number, irrespective of whether it is positive or negative.

Syntax Of ABS Function
=ABS(CellAddress or Number)
The result will be shown as a number, no special formatting is needed.

  1. The following table was used by a company testing a machine which cuts timber. 
  2. The machine needs to cut timber to an exact length. 
  3. Three pieces of timber were cut and then measured. 
  4. In calculating the difference between the Required Length and the Actual Length it does 
  5. not matter if the wood was cut too long or short, the measurement needs to be expressed as 
  6. an absolute value. 
Table 1 shows the original calculations:
  • The Difference for Test 3 is shown as negative, which has a knock on effect 
  • when the Error Percentage is calculated. 
  • Whether the wood was too long or short, the percentage should still be expressed 
  • as an absolute value. 

Table 2 shows the same data but using the =ABS() function to correct the calculations: