The Excel SIGN function is a Math & Trigonometry formula that returns the sign of the specified numeric value in its arguments. Need to identify outliers or any red flags in a data set? This function is perfect for that task! This function can be especially useful in analysis tasks, conditional formatting purposes, or other similar scenarios. In this guide, we’re going to show you how to use this nifty function and also go over some tips and error handling methods.

Supported versions

  • All Excel versions

Excel SIGN Function Syntax

SIGN(number)

Arguments

number A numeric value that you want to check its sign.

Excel SIGN Function Examples

The Excel SIGN function only requires a real number to return its sign, and its use is very straightforward. All you need to do is enter a number or reference for the number argument, and the function returns one of the three outcome values based on the sign of the argument provided. You can use the outcome value as is, or combine it with other formulas for a dynamic approach.

1 If number is positive
0 If number is 0
-1 If number is negative

=SIGN(5) returns 1

=SIGN(0) returns 0

=SIGN(-8) returns -1

Excel SIGN Function 01

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Tips

  • The function returns the sign of the number argument as a numeric value. You can use the outcome value as is, or in combination with other formulas to track certain measures.
  • Although in its official help pages Microsoft mentions that you need to use a real number for the number argument, the SIGN function can also accept numbers in string form (Excel treats strings as numbers as well). For example;
    =SIGN(“12345”)