Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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: Creating a Plus/Minus Button.

Creating a Plus/Minus Button

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 3, 2014)

6

On some calculators there is a little button that can come in very handy: the plus/minus button. This button, when pressed, will switch whatever value is on the display between its positive and negative values. For instance, if the display shows the number 57, then pressing the button will change the display to -57. Pressing it again will switch the value back to 57.

If you would like a "button" that does this in Excel, you'll quickly find that there is none built into the program. You can quickly create one, however, by using a macro:

Sub PlusMinus()
    Dim cell As Range

    For Each cell In Selection
        If Application.IsNumber(cell) Then
            If Not(IsDate(cell)) Then
                cell.Value = cell.Value * -1
            End If
        End If
    Next cell
End Sub

Note that the macro simply steps through whatever range of cells you selected when the macro started. Each cell is checked to see if it contains a number. If it does, then the cell is checked to make sure it doesn't contain a date. Only then is the value of the cell multiplied by -1. The result is a switch in sign for the number.

The two checks done on the cell are important so that you don't mess up the contents of cells by accident. The first check (using the IsNumber function) looks to see if the cell contains a number. When would a cell not contain a number? The most critical time is when it contains a formula; you don't want to mess those up. The second check uses the IsDate function, which checks to see if the cell contains a date. This is necessary because a cell can contain a number that actually represents a date, and you don't want to change those dates to minus values.

You can assign this macro to a shortcut key or add it to the Quick Access Toolbar to make it easy to use at any time.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (9271) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, and 2013. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating a Plus/Minus Button.

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. ...

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Comments

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What is four less than 4?

2014-05-06 14:56:25

Willy Vanhaelen

@Micky: your solution does erase the formula.

@Don: "On Error GoTo 0" is not needed in this case because there is no code following the statement that can cause the error. After ending the "For Each" follows the "End Sub" and that resets the On Error anyway.


2014-05-05 13:15:16

Don

I had the same problem with it erasing the formula. I agree with Willy that the Cell.HasFormula is the key and WRosocha's suggestion to use "-cell.Value".

However, I do have an issue using "On Error Resume Next" to replace condition validation. Further heartburn when it comes to Functions and Subs that have an opening "On Error Resume Next" and no "On Error GoTo 0". When "On Error Resume Next" is used it just be just prior to the code line(s) where errors are acceptable. Immediately after should be the "On Error GoTo 0".

I also prefer using the VBA native functions instead of Application or Worksheet function. I've added a Len(Trim(cell.Value)) > 0 for the difference between the two.

That rant aside, here's my suggestion:
Sub PlusMinus()
Dim cell As Range
For Each cell In Selection
If Len(Trim(cell.Value)) > 0 _
And IsNumeric(cell) _
And Not cell.HasFormula _
And Not IsDate(cell) Then
cell.Value = -cell.Value
End If
Next cell
End Sub


2014-05-05 07:12:29

Michael (Micky) Avidan

@Willy,
This is a little shorter and seems 2 B working fine:
Sub PlusMinus()
On Error Resume Next
For Each CL In Selection
CL.Value = -CL
Next
End Sub
Michael (Micky) Avidan
“Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
“Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2014)
ISRAEL


2014-05-04 13:44:58

WRosocha

Willy,

Thank you for the additional insights.


2014-05-04 08:32:16

Willy Vanhaelen

This tip claims that formulas are left intact. That is not the case. When a cell contains a formula this macro replaces it with it's negative result. So the formula is gone. To prevent this we have to test whether the cell contains a formula.

'cell.Value = -cell.Value' generates an error when cell.Value isn't a number. So let's use this in this simplified macro that does what it is expect to do:

Sub PlusMinus()
Dim cell As Range
On Error Resume Next 'copes with cells that are not numeric
For Each cell In Selection
If Not cell.HasFormula Then cell.Value = -cell.Value
Next cell
End Sub

Cells containing a formula, a label or a date are left untouched.


2014-05-03 10:55:13

WRosocha

Why would you invoke the MULTIPLY operation to flip the sign bit?

This violates the principle of using the simplest programming constructs. It also invokes heavy duty computation in the CPU.

Why not use

cell.Value = -cell.Value

Are there cases where this wouldn't work?


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