SIGN Excel Function

SIGN Function in Excel

Sign function in excel is a Maths/Trig function that is used to give us this result. SIGN function returns the sign (-1, 0 or +1) of the supplied numerical argument. SIGN formula in excel can be used by typing the keyword =SIGN( and providing the number as input.


SIGN Formula in Excel


the number: The number to get the sign for.

The input number can be any number entered directly or in the form of any mathematical operation or any cell referenceCell ReferenceCell reference in excel is referring the other cells to a cell to use its values or properties. For instance, if we have data in cell A2 and want to use that in cell A1, use =A2 in cell A1, and this will copy the A2 value in more.


The SIGN Formula in Excel has only three outputs: 1, 0, -1.

  • If the number is greater than zero, the SIGN formula in excel will return 1.
  • If the number is equal to zero, the SIGN formula in excel will return 0.
  • If the number is less than zero, the SIGN formula in excel will return -1.

If the supplied number argument is non-numeric, the excel SIGN function will return #VALUE! error.

How to Use SIGN Function in Excel? (with Examples)

You can download this SIGN Function Excel Template here – SIGN Function Excel Template

Example #1

Suppose you have the final balance figures for seven departments for 2016 and 2017, as shown below.

Department A1000012000
Department B-1890-2000
Department C250000320000
Department D8000060000
Department E-50000-40000
Department F-10002500
Department G1200012500

Some of the departments are running in debt, and some are giving good returns. Now, you want to see if there is an increase in the figure compared to last year. To do so, you can use the following SIGN formula for the first one.

=SIGN(D4 – C4)

SIGN Example 1-1

It will return +1. The argument to the SIGN function is a value returned from other functions.

SIGN Example 1-2

Now, drag it to get the value for the rest of the cells.

SIGN Example 1-3

Example #2

In the above example, you may also want to calculate the percentage increase in excelCalculate The Percentage Increase In ExcelPercentage increase = (New Value - Old Value)/ Old Value. Instead of showing the delta as a Value, percentage increase shows how much the value has changed in terms of percentage more with respect to the previous year.

To do so, you can use the following SIGN Formula:

=(D4 – C4)/C4 * SIGN(C4)

SIGN Example 2

and drag it to the rest of the cells.

SIGN Example 2-1

If the balance for the year 2016 is zero, the function will give an error. Alternatively, the following SIGN formula may be used to avoid the error:

=IFERROR((D4 – C4) / C4 * SIGN(C4), 0)

In order to get the overall % increase or decrease, you can use the following formula:

(SUM(D4:D10) – SUM(C4:C10)) / SUM(C4:C10) * SIGN(SUM(C4:C10))

SIGN Example 2-2

SUM(D4:D10) will give the net balance including all departments for 2017

SUM(C4:C10) will give the net balance including all departments for 2016

SUM(D4:D10) – SUM(C4:C10) will give the net gain or loss, including all departments.

(SUM(D4:D10) – SUM(C4:C10)) / SUM(C4:C10) * SIGN(SUM(C4:C10)) will give the percentage gain or loss

Example #3

Suppose you have a list of numbers in B3:B8, as shown below.

SIGN Example 3

Now, you want to change the sign of each of the negative number to positive.

You may simply use the following Formula:

=B3 * SIGN(B3)

SIGN Example 3-1

If the B3 is negative, SIGN(B3) is -1, and B3 * SIGN(B3) will be negative * negative, which will return positive.

If the B3 is positive, SIGN(B3) is +1, and B3 * SIGN(B3) will be positive * positive, which will return positive.

It will return to 280.

SIGN Example 3-2

Now, drag it to get the values for the rest of the numbers.

drag the values

Example #4

Suppose you have your monthly sales in F4:F10, and you want to find if your sales are going up and down.

To do so, you can use the following Formula—

=VLOOKUP(SIGN(F5 – F4), A5:B7, 2)

where A5:B7 contains the information of the up, zero, and down.

The SIGN function will compare the current and previous month sales using the SIGN function, and VLOOKUPVLOOKUPThe VLOOKUP excel function searches for a particular value and returns a corresponding match based on a unique identifier. A unique identifier is uniquely associated with all the records of the database. For instance, employee ID, student roll number, customer contact number, seller email address are unique more will pull the information from the VLOOKUP table and return whether the sales are going Up, zero, or down.

vlookup sign

and drag it to the rest of the cells.

SIGN Example 4-1

Example #5

Suppose you have sales data from four different zones- East, West, North, and South for products A and B, as shown below.


Now, you want the total sales amount for product A or East zone.

It can be calculated as:

=SUMPRODUCT(SIGN((B4:B15 = “EAST”) + (C4:C15 = “A”)) * F4:F15)


Let us see the above SIGN Function in detail.

B4:B15 = “EAST”

will give 1 if it is “EAST” else it will return 0. It will return {1, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0}

C4:C15 = “A”

will give 1 if it is “A” else it will return 0. It will return {1, 0, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0}

(B4:B15 = “EAST”) + (C4:C15 = “A”)

will return sum the two and {0, 1, 2}. It will return {2, 2, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 2, 0, 0}

SIGN((B4:B15 = “EAST”) + (C4:C15 = “A”))

will then return {0, 1} here since there is no negative number. It will return {1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0}.

SUMPRODUCT(SIGN((B4:B15 = “EAST”) + (C4:C15 = “A”)) * F4:F15)

will first take the product of the two matrix {1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 0} and {2000, 1500, 4800, 4500, 5000, 13000, 7200, 18000, 3300, 4800, 6500} which will return {2000, 1500, 4800, 4500, 0, 0, 7200, 0, 3300, 0, 0}, and then sum it.

This will finally return 23,300.

sales in product a

Similarly, to calculate the product sales for East or West zones, you may use the following SIGN formula—

=SUMPRODUCT(SIGN((B4:B15 = “EAST”) + (B4:B15 = “WEST”)) * F4:F15)

and for product A in East zone

=SUMPRODUCT(SIGN((B4:B15 = “EAST”) * (C4:C15 = “A”)) * F4:F15)

SIGN Excel Function Video

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to SIGN Function in Excel. Here we discuss the SIGN Formula in excel and how to use the SIGN function along with excel example and downloadable excel templates. You may also look at these useful functions in excel –

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