How to Make a Group of Positive Numbers Negative in Excel

By Riz Khan

Microsoft Excel offers a simple way of converting a group of positive numbers to negative numbers. This function is called the ABS function, and it is used to express a number in its absolute value without a positive or negative sign. Adding a "-" (minus) to the ABS function allows you to express the number in negative form after converting it to its absolute value. Besides the ABS function, you can also use special paste options given in Excel to convert a given selection of positive numbers to negatives.

Using ABS Function

Step 1

Highlight the group of positive numbers to select them. Let's assume that the selected field has cells ranging from A1 to A10.

Step 2

Click cell "B1" and enter the formula "=-ABS(A1)," and hit the "Enter" key. The negative value for the cell A1 will be entered in cell B1.

Step 3

Click cell "B1" to highlight it. Point the mouse cursor at the bottom right corner of the cell, so the regular mouse cursor is replaced with a "+" sign.

Step 4

Press and hold the left mouse button when the "+" sign appears, and drag the mouse downwards until fields B1 to B10 are selected. This will apply the formula "=-ABS(A1)" that you entered in cell B1 to cells from B2 to B10, expressing the corresponding negative values for the positive numbers in the cells A2 to A10 respectively.

Using Special Paste Options

Step 1

Type "-1" in any empty cell of the Excel sheet.

Step 2

Click the cell in which you entered the value "-1" and press "Ctrl" and "C" to copy the cell.

Step 3

Select the field that you want to convert from positive values to their corresponding negatives.

Step 4

Right-click after making the selection and select the option "Paste Special" from the context menu.

Step 5

Check the options "Value" and "Multiply," and click "OK" to proceed. The selected field will be converted from positive numbers to negatives.