**Please Note: **
This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 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: Summing Absolute Values.

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated December 24, 2021)**This tip applies to** Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365

Joseph has a worksheet that contains a list of values. Some of those values are above zero and others are below. He can use the SUM function to calculate a sum of the values, but he really wants to calculate a sum of the absolute value of each item in the list. So, the sum of the three values -33, 14, -5 would be 52 instead of -24.

There is no intrinsic function you can use to create the desired sum, but you can create a formula to perform the task. One method is to use the SUMIF function, in the following manner:

=SUMIF(A1:A10,">0")-SUMIF(A1:A10,"<0")

The first SUMIF sums all the values that are greater than zero, and the second sums all those less than zero. Thus, with the four values -33, 14, -5, 42, the first SUMIF would result in a sum of 56 (14 + 42) and the second would result in a sum of -38 (-33 + -5). When you subtract the second sum from the first (56 - -38) you get a final answer of 94, which is the sum of all the absolute values.

Another approach is to use the SUMPRODUCT function. The following formula will produce the desired result:

=SUMPRODUCT(ABS(A1:A10))

The function is typically used to multiply different elements of arrays by each other, and then sum those products. Since only one array (A1:A10) is provided, there is no multiplication done, but a sum of the desired absolute values is returned.

You can also get the desired result by using an array formula, a convenient but seldom used feature of Excel. Assuming your values are in the range A1:A10, type this formula:

=SUM(ABS(A1:A10))

Don't press **Enter**; instead press **Ctrl+Shift+Enter**, which signifies this is an array formula. If the formula is entered correctly, you'll see braces around the formula in the Formula bar:

{=SUM(ABS(A1:A10))}

What the formula does is internally create the intermediate column (which is an array of values) which are the individual absolute values of A1:A10. It then sums this array and displays the result.

Finally, if you prefer you could create your own user-defined function (a macro) that will return the sum of the absolute values in a range. The following is a macro that will accomplish this task:

Function SumAbs(Rng As Range) As Double Result = 0 On Error GoTo Done For Each element In Rng Result = Result + Abs(element) Next element Done: SumAbs = Result End Function

You can use the function by entering a simple formula in your worksheet:

=SumAbs(A1:A10)

*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 (12615) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Microsoft 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Excel here: **Summing Absolute Values**.

**Comprehensive VBA Guide** Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out *Mastering VBA for Office 2010* today!

If you have a range of cells that contain values, you may wonder which combinations of those cells should be used to meet ...

Discover MoreNeed to count the number of cells in a range that are not blank? You can use the COUNTA function of a more complex ...

Discover MoreWhen working with data in Excel, you might want to figure out which rows of data represent duplicates of other rows. If ...

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

2020-03-08 09:55:57

Peter Atherton

Rannie

The most obvious way that a Value error is returned is if a number in the data is text. So I would examine the numbers carefully. The Following may help. If a number has been added with a leading apostrophe, then this number is treated as text. However, array formulas entered Ctrl + Alt + Enter and SUMPRODUCT functions will ignore this error. If a number has a space within it say 10 is entered 1 Space 0 then this produces a value error.

Use the Count Function if it does not give the correct number then a value(s) must be Text.

(see Figure 1 below)

**Figure 1.** Data Values

2020-03-07 13:49:03

I don't have time to read frequent emails.

I'm a real estate appraiser and do have the need for Excel help. I will be very glad to give you credit in any report I do for the contributions you have made.

I need the absolute sum of a column of numbers. I tried two of your suggestions multiple times each and could not get them to work.

I tried:

=SUMPRODUCT(ABS(D7:D19))

as well as

=SUM(ABS(D7:D19))

what did I do wrong?

2019-08-05 12:35:29

Willy Vanhaelen

If the range contains a string (even a cell containing just a space) the UDF (User Defined Function) will produce a faulty result.

- An error will occur when the For Next loop encounters a cell containing a srtring.

- The "On Error GoTo Done" line causes the looping to stop and the line after 'Done:' will be executed.

- The result at that moment will be displayed skipping the rest of the range which is of course totally wrong.

So deleting the On Error line will fix this bug but here is a one-liner that does the same job correctly:

Function SumAbs(Rng As Range) As Double

SumAbs = Evaluate("SUM(ABS(" & Rng.Address & "))")

End Function

it shows #VALUE! in case your range contains a string just as the formulas do.

In fact it is simply the VBA implementation of the array formula {=SUM(ABS(Range))}

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.

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

Copyright © 2023 Sharon Parq Associates, Inc.

## Comments