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: Creating a Plus/Minus Button.
by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 23, 2019)
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 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
Note that the macro simply steps through whatever range of cells you selected when the macro started. Each cell is tested to make sure it contains a numeric value. 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. Another instance is when the cell contains a date. You don't want to change those dates to minus values. Cells that contain either a formula, a date, or a label will generate an error since "cell.Value" isn't a numeric value. If the cell truly contains a number, then the result is a switch in sign for the number.
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, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: Creating a Plus/Minus Button.
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