Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Excel 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Excel, click here: Converting to Octal.

Converting to Octal

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 26, 2019)

1

There are four types of numbering systems commonly used in programming: binary, octal, decimal, and hexadecimal. Each is simply a different method of expressing the exact same values. Excel makes it easy to convert between decimal and octal numbers and provides two worksheet functions for that very purpose.

The first function is the DEC2OCT function. Suppose you have a decimal value in cell B7, and you want to know how to express that value in octal. In a different cell you could use the following formula:

=DEC2OCT(B7)

If the value in B7 was 456, the result of the above formula would be 710. An interesting fact (and potential "gottcha") is that when the conversion is completed, Excel considers the result to be a number. Thus, if you added 8 to the resulting value above (710), Excel would return 718—a value impossible in octal. This simply means that Excel doesn't keep track of the numbering system used in a particular cell; it expects you to do that.

If you want to convert numbers back the other way, from octal to decimal, you can use the OCT2DEC worksheet function:

=OCT2DEC(B8)

If you try to use this function with a value that is clearly not octal (such as 718), then Excel returns a #NUM! error value.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5656) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Converting to Octal.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Two-Level Axis Labels

Need a chart that uses two lines for axis labels? It's easy to do if you know how to set up your data in the worksheet, ...

Discover More

Inconsistent Output for Empty Columns in a CSV File

When you create a CSV file in Excel, the information stored in the file may not contain all the fields that you think it ...

Discover More

Creating a Named Range

Named ranges can be a great boon in creating easily understandable formulas. Here's what they are an how to define them.

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Using GEOMEAN with a Large List

When performing a statistical analysis on a large dataset, you may want to use GEOMEAN to figure out the geometric mean ...

Discover More

Converting Radians to Degrees

When applying trigonometry to the values in a worksheet, you may need to convert radians to degrees. This is done by ...

Discover More

Finding the Lowest Numbers

Need to find the lowest numbers in a range of values? It's easy to do using the SMALL worksheet function, or you can use ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 1?

2019-01-27 07:25:11

JMJ

Speaking of octal, do you know this old joke?

- The 31st of October is the Christmas for IT people !
- Why?
- Because 31OCT=25DEC


This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.