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.

Creating a Plus/Minus Button

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 2, 2019)

10

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.

Note:

If you would like to know how to use the macros described on this page (or on any other page on the ExcelTips sites), I've prepared a special page that includes helpful information. Click here to open that special page in a new browser tab.

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.

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

Repeating Rows on a Printout Except On the Last Page

When setting up a worksheet for printing, you can specify that Excel repeat some of your rows at the top of each page ...

Discover More

Erasing Table Lines

When creating tables, Word provides a handy tool that you can use. Once the table is in place, you can use the table ...

Discover More

Replacing Quoted Text with Italics

If you have text surrounded by quotes in a document, you may want to remove the quote marks and make the text that was ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Store Common Macros in the Personal Macro Workbook

Want your macros to be available regardless of the workbook on which you are working? Here's how to store them in the ...

Discover More

DOS from Macros

Need to run a DOS command from within one of your macros? The answer is the Shell command, described in this tip.

Discover More

Replacing and Converting in a Macro

When you use a macro to process data you always run the risk of making that data unusable by Excel. This is especially ...

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 0 + 7?

2018-05-07 16:39:53

Henk

Hi Peter, what is this "c.c" bit?


2018-03-23 13:24:43

Peter Atherton

Nicely spotted Saskia,

Variation on Willy's should do it

Sub PlusMinus()
Dim cell As Range
On Error Resume Next 'copes with cells that are not numeric
For Each cell In Selection
if instr(1,cell.text,":") >0 then
c.c
ElseIf Not cell.HasFormula Then
cell.Value = -cell.Value
end if
Next cell
End Sub


2018-03-23 13:04:21

Willy Vanhaelen

@Saskia
By default Excel uses the 1900 date system which doesn't support negative times. So ###### is displayed.
You can use negative times if you check the 1904 date sytem in the Excel Options (Advanced , When calculating this workbook:) but that will give problems with dates copied from workbooks using the default 1900 date system.


2018-03-22 03:38:56

Saskia Jacobsen

It goes wrong when the content of a cell is a time...!


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?


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.