SIGN function

The SIGN function in Excel is a simple yet powerful function that helps you determine the sign of a number. It returns one of three values: 1 if the number is positive, -1 if the number is negative, and 0 if the number is zero. This function is particularly useful when you want to classify data or perform conditional calculations based on the sign of a number.




numberThe number for which you want to determine the sign.

How to use

To use the SIGN function, follow this simple syntax:

Where number is the numeric value you want to check.

Here are some examples of how you can use the SIGN function:

Example 1:

Suppose you have a list of numbers in column A, and you want to classify them as positive, negative, or zero. You can use the SIGN function in column B to achieve this:

Copy this formula down the column, and it will return 1 for positive numbers, -1 for negative numbers, and 0 for zeros.

Example 2:

You can also use the SIGN function in conditional formulas. For instance, if you want to calculate the absolute difference between two numbers, you can use the following formula:

Where number1 and number2 are the two values you want to find the absolute difference between. The SIGN function is implicitly used here to ensure the result is always positive.

Example 3 (Optional):

If you want to determine the sign of a number without using the SIGN function, you can achieve the same result using an IF formula. For example:

This nested IF formula will also classify numbers as positive, negative, or zero.

The SIGN function is a quick and efficient way to work with the sign of numbers in Excel, making your calculations and data analysis tasks easier.

Tomasz Decker is an Excel specialist, skilled in data analysis and financial modeling.