There are quite a lot of mathematical functions in Microsoft Excel, so when you get to know the program, some of them may be incomprehensible to beginners. Such functions include ABS, as it has only one argument.
Let’s deal with this topic in more detail.
How the ABS function works
First, let’s figure out why the ABS function is needed, if it wasn’t clear to you from the help. If you enter any number in the ABS argument, it will be shown as positive, that is, the modulus or absolute value is calculated, whichever is more convenient for you.
Even during math lessons, teachers used to say that the modulus of a number is always positive, even if the number itself is negative. In general, this is what ABS is used for in Microsoft Excel – to take the modulus of a number and display it on the screen or use other formulas.
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Syntax of the ABS function
Let’s dwell on this topic just so that you understand what output data is entered when filling the line of the ABS function. In fact, there is only one argument, which is a number to return the module. You can simply type in any number or reference a cell, just like you do when using other functions in Excel.
Above you see the function arguments window, where you can see that using ABS you only need to enter a number or a reference to the cell, that is, its number, where the number of the return of its absolute value is stored.
Using the ABS function
Everything is clear with the syntax and direction of this function, so let’s now understand it in practice. First, consider a situation where you just need the modulus of a number without additional calculations.
You can declare a function =ABS in any convenient place, and in brackets write a negative or positive number, the module of which you need.
As a result, you will always get a positive number, as shown in the following image.
In the same way, the cell is selected, the module of the number of which should be obtained. In this case, the calculations are also successful, and you can start further using the obtained results.
As you can see, there is nothing complicated in using this function. It has only one argument, so there shouldn’t be any difficulties with writing either. The formula is extensible and can be used for a group of cells immediately. To do this, you need to drag the already ready cell with the result down by the lower right corner to stretch it to all subsequent cells in the data array.
Using ABS together with other functions
It remains only to understand whether ABS can be combined with other functions, forming more complex formulas that can be useful in mathematical calculations. Nothing prevents you from inserting the module into almost any calculation, but in the framework of this article, we will deal with it using the simplest example.
Let’s declare the SUM function, which will calculate the sum of several numbers in different cells. Let’s make it so that the module of each number is taken and then the addition takes place. As a result, the formula will look like this =SUM(ABS(A1)+ABS(A3)). Accordingly, replace the cell numbers with your own if you want to use this formula.
Let’s pay attention to the fact that all the selected numbers in this formula are negative, so we take their module to add absolute values.
As a result, we get the addition of two positive numbers and their corresponding sum.
In this simple way, you can ignore negative numbers if you need to convert them into positive numbers and also include them in your calculations. There are actually quite a lot of situations where the ABS function may be needed, which cannot be dealt with in one article or even simulated, since each user has his own tasks that he must solve in Excel.
I hope that the general information was enough to understand what the ABS function is for and how you can use it for your purposes.