Excel SIGN function


The Excel SIGN function returns the sign of a number, indicating whether the number is positive, negative, or zero. It’s a straightforward function primarily used in mathematical, financial, and engineering calculations to determine the sign of a value.
  • number: The number you want to find the sign of
Return value
1 if the number is positive, -1 if the number is negative, and 0 if the number is zero.

How to use

Use the SIGN function by simply inputting the number for which you wish to determine the sign. This function is useful for understanding the nature of values in a dataset, especially when dealing with a mix of positive, negative, and zero values.


Simple SIGN
Determining the Sign of a Number: To identify whether a number is positive, negative, or zero:
This formula returns -1, indicating the number is negative.
SIGN in Financial Analysis
Sign of Financial Returns: Using SIGN to determine profit or loss:
If B2 contains a financial return, this formula returns 1 for profit, -1 for loss, and 0 for break-even.
SIGN with IF
Categorizing Data Based on Sign: Assigning categories based on the sign of values:
					=IF(SIGN(A2)=1, "Positive", IF(SIGN(A2)=-1, "Negative", "Zero"))
This formula categorizes the number in A2 as “Positive”, “Negative”, or “Zero”.

Additional Notes

  • SIGN is a simple, yet powerful function for understanding the directional nature of numerical data.
  • It can be combined with other functions to create more complex logical tests and calculations.

Related Functions

Excel ABS function

The Excel ABS function returns the absolute value of a number, eliminating negative signs, essential for data normalization.

Excel IF function

The Excel IF function checks a condition to return values for TRUE or FALSE outcomes, ideal for dynamic decision-making.

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