The SIGN function takes one argument, number, which must be a numeric value. If number is not numeric, SIGN returns a #VALUE! error.


SIGN can be used to change negative numbers into positive values like this. For example, with -3 in cell A1, the formula below returns 3: The formula above has no effect on positive numbers, since SIGN will return 1. However, the ABS function provides a simpler solution:


If number is in the range (-∞,0) SIGN(number) will return -1. If number is equal to 0 SIGN(number) will return 0. If number is in the range (0,∞)(number) SIGN will return 1.

Dave Bruns

Hi - I’m Dave Bruns, and I run Exceljet with my wife, Lisa. Our goal is to help you work faster in Excel. We create short videos, and clear examples of formulas, functions, pivot tables, conditional formatting, and charts.