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: Working In Feet and Inches.

Working in Feet and Inches

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 2, 2019)

8

If you work in one of the construction trades, you may wonder if there is a way to have Excel work in feet and inches. The answer, of course, is yes and no. (How's that for specific?)

Let's look at the "no" answer first. If you are looking for a way to make Excel do things like math using feet and inches, there is no native ability to do that. In other words, you can't tell Excel to consider a column as "feet and inches" and then have it automatically add a set of cells containing lineal feet. A quick search of the Internet reveals that there are a number of Excel add-ins that you can find—some for free—that will do real math for feet and inches. These, of course, would require learning exactly how to use them to achieve what you want. The following site was among those suggested by different ExcelTips subscribers. (Even though the information on the page is older, it is still applicable to current versions of Excel.)

http://lacher.com/examples/lacher18.htm

Now for the "yes" portion of the answer. You can, of course, use separate columns for feet and inches. In this way it is relatively easy to add the values in the columns—one would simply be the sum of feet, and the other the sum of inches. Since the sum of the inches would most likely exceed 12, you could, in a different cell, adjust the finished feet and inches as necessary.

Another approach is to simply work in inches, which is the lowest common denominator. For instance, if you had a length of 5 feet 6 inches, you would put the value 66 in a cell. You could then do any number of math functions on these values. In another cell you could use a formula, such as the following, to display an inches-only value as feet and inches:

=INT(A1/12) & " ft. " & MOD(A1,12) & " in."

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (10612) 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: Working In Feet and Inches.

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

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 9 + 7?

2019-11-05 06:52:13

MalR

I enjoy reading your comments Willy. You always speak a lot of sense and simplify the problem!


2019-11-05 05:22:15

Willy Vanhaelen

What am I happy to live in a country using the metric system as do an overwhelming majority of the countries in the world.


2019-11-04 23:49:18

Aldo Santolla

This function I use to work with feet & inches. This will convert any dimension figure to show 0'-0 0/0" format.

Public Function FeetInch(Inch As Double, Optional Denominator As Integer = 16) As String
Dim Negative As Boolean
Dim FeetValue As Long
Dim InchValue As Long
Dim FractionValue As Double
Dim FractionReductionCount As Integer
Dim Numerator As Integer
Dim F As String, i As String, Fr As String

Application.Volatile

Negative = (Inch < 0)
If Negative Then Inch = Inch * -1

FeetValue = Int(Inch / 12)
InchValue = Int(Inch - FeetValue * 12)
FractionValue = Round((Inch - FeetValue * 12 - InchValue) * Denominator, 0) / Denominator
If FractionValue = 1 Then
FractionValue = 0
InchValue = InchValue + 1
End If

FractionReductionCount = 0
Numerator = FractionValue * Denominator
If FractionValue <> 0 Then
Do Until Int(Numerator / 2) <> Numerator / 2
Numerator = Numerator / 2
FractionReductionCount = FractionReductionCount + 1
Loop
End If

F = FeetValue & "'-"
If FeetValue = 0 Then F = ""

Fr = Numerator & "/" & Denominator / 2 ^ FractionReductionCount & """"
If FractionValue = 0 Then Fr = """"

i = InchValue & " "
If InchValue = 0 And FeetValue = 0 Then i = ""
If FractionValue = 0 Then i = Trim(InchValue)

FeetInch = IIf(Negative, "-", "") & F & i & Fr
End Function

This will convert feet & inch format 0'-0 0/0" to a number you can use in calculations.


Public Function Inch(ByVal FeetInch As String, Optional Rounding As Integer = 0) As Double
Dim Negative As Boolean
Dim Apos As Long 'Apostrophe
Dim Hpos As Long 'Hyphen
Dim Spos As Long 'Space
Dim Dpos As Long 'Divider
Dim Qpos As Long 'Quotation
Dim EndValue As Double

Dim FeetValue As Double
Dim InchValue As Double
Dim Numerator As Double
Dim Denominator As Double

Application.Volatile

If Left(FeetInch, 1) = "*" Then
FeetInch = [AddLongLength] & Right(FeetInch, Len(FeetInch) - 1)
End If

FeetValue = 0
InchValue = 0
Numerator = 0
Denominator = 1

If Left(FeetInch, 1) = "-" Then
Negative = (Left(FeetInch, 1) = "-")
FeetInch = Right(FeetInch, Len(FeetInch) - 1)
End If

Qpos = InStr(FeetInch, """") 'Quotation
If Qpos > 0 Then FeetInch = Left(FeetInch, Qpos - 1)

Dpos = InStr(FeetInch, "/") 'Divider
Spos = InStr(FeetInch, " ") 'Space
Hpos = InStr(FeetInch, "-") 'Hyphen
Apos = InStr(FeetInch, "'") 'Apostrophe

If Dpos > 0 Then 'Divider indicates fraction in string
Select Case True
Case Spos > 0 'Space
Numerator = CDbl(Mid(FeetInch, Spos + 1, Dpos - Spos - 1))
Denominator = CDbl(Mid(FeetInch, Dpos + 1))
FeetInch = Left(FeetInch, Spos - 1)
Case Hpos > 0 'Hyphen
Numerator = CDbl(Mid(FeetInch, Hpos + 1, Dpos - Hpos - 1))
Denominator = CDbl(Mid(FeetInch, Dpos + 1))
FeetInch = Left(FeetInch, Hpos - 1)
Case Apos > 0 'Apostrophe
Numerator = CDbl(Mid(FeetInch, Apos + 1, Dpos - Apos - 1))
Denominator = CDbl(Mid(FeetInch, Dpos + 1))
Case Else 'Fraction Only
Numerator = CDbl(Left(FeetInch, Dpos - 1))
Denominator = CDbl(Right(FeetInch, Len(FeetInch) - Dpos))
FeetInch = ""
End Select
End If

Hpos = InStr(FeetInch, "-") 'Hyphen

If Hpos > 0 Then
If Len(FeetInch) > Hpos Then
InchValue = CDbl(Right(FeetInch, Len(FeetInch) - Hpos))
FeetInch = Left(FeetInch, Hpos - 1)
End If
End If

Apos = InStr(FeetInch, "'") 'Apostrophe

If Apos > 0 Then
FeetValue = CDbl(Left(FeetInch, Apos - 1))
FeetInch = Right(FeetInch, Len(FeetInch) - Apos)
End If

If Len(FeetInch) > 0 Then InchValue = InchValue + CDbl(FeetInch)

If Rounding = 0 Then
EndValue = FeetValue * 12 + InchValue + Numerator / Denominator
Else
EndValue = Round((FeetValue * 12 + InchValue + Numerator / Denominator) * Rounding, 0) / Rounding
End If
If Negative Then
EndValue = EndValue * -1
End If

Inch = EndValue
End Function

I use these everyday in my work. I get field measurements from constructions site that I need to convert and use in various calculations.


2019-11-04 23:45:56

Aldo Santolla


Public Function FeetInch(Inch As Double, Optional Denominator As Integer = 16) As String
Dim Negative As Boolean
Dim FeetValue As Long
Dim InchValue As Long
Dim FractionValue As Double
Dim FractionReductionCount As Integer
Dim Numerator As Integer
Dim F As String, i As String, Fr As String

Application.Volatile

Negative = (Inch < 0)
If Negative Then Inch = Inch * -1

FeetValue = Int(Inch / 12)
InchValue = Int(Inch - FeetValue * 12)
FractionValue = Round((Inch - FeetValue * 12 - InchValue) * Denominator, 0) / Denominator
If FractionValue = 1 Then
FractionValue = 0
InchValue = InchValue + 1
End If

FractionReductionCount = 0
Numerator = FractionValue * Denominator
If FractionValue <> 0 Then
Do Until Int(Numerator / 2) <> Numerator / 2
Numerator = Numerator / 2
FractionReductionCount = FractionReductionCount + 1
Loop
End If

F = FeetValue & "'-"
If FeetValue = 0 Then F = ""

Fr = Numerator & "/" & Denominator / 2 ^ FractionReductionCount & """"
If FractionValue = 0 Then Fr = """"

i = InchValue & " "
If InchValue = 0 And FeetValue = 0 Then i = ""
If FractionValue = 0 Then i = Trim(InchValue)

FeetInch = IIf(Negative, "-", "") & F & i & Fr
End Function


2019-11-04 09:45:34

Craig Bower

My firm measures depths in feet, inches, and eighths for soil borings. Instead of having a separate column for feet, inches, and eighths, we designated the data entry column to be ft.in8, i.e., feet is the integer, the first two decimal positions are for inches, and the third decimal is for eighths of an inch. Thus, 10'-3 1/4" is entered as 10.032; 1'-0 5/8" is entered as 1.005. The header at the top of the column includes the data entry definition, (ft.in8). The next column in the spreadsheet, which could be hidden, converts the entered data to feet. This data entry alleviates the need to be entering an ', -, or " with the data, which slows down the data entry considerably. If we want the entered data to be presented in feet'-inch" format, than we have a data entry/computation worksheet and a second worksheet set up for printout.


2019-11-03 15:56:24

MIchael Armstrong

Hmmm. I've been using Excel (now 365) for quite a while for doing construction calculations, and in my naïveté just mixed inches and feet routinely, converting and setting formats as required, and never noticed a problem. I'd do things like specify cutting boards to length in inches,and keeping track of those lengths in feet, to determine the number of, say, 12' boards required for all the boards to be cut.


2019-11-03 08:12:55

Simon Freeman

How about working in twelfths - using custom formats "# ??/12" - if you enter a measurement as 4 5/12 for 4 feet 5 inches Excel converts it to decimals, does the maths and if the answer cell is similarly formatted with show the results in integer feet and fraction inches.


2019-11-02 07:31:10

Simon Tormey

I worked with feet & inches forever - 1 inch = .083 -2 inches = .167 - 3 inches = .25 etc etc - what's the big deal ? just decimalize


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