CONVERT: Excel Formulae Explained

Microsoft Excel, a powerful tool in the world of data analysis and management, is packed with numerous functions that help in manipulating, calculating, and analyzing data. One such function is the CONVERT function, a highly versatile tool that allows users to convert a number from one measurement system to another. This article delves into the details of the CONVERT function, its syntax, how to use it, and some common errors that users might encounter.

Understanding the CONVERT Function

The CONVERT function in Excel is a part of the Math and Trig functions category. It is primarily used to convert numbers from one unit of measurement to another. For example, you can convert pounds to kilograms, feet to meters, or Fahrenheit to Celsius. The function supports a wide range of measurement units, making it an invaluable tool for individuals and businesses dealing with diverse datasets.

Before diving into the specifics of using the CONVERT function, it's crucial to understand its syntax. The function follows the pattern: CONVERT(number, from_unit, to_unit). Here, 'number' refers to the value you wish to convert. 'From_unit' and 'to_unit' are the units for the original and the desired measurements, respectively. Both these units should be in text format, enclosed in quotation marks.

Using the CONVERT Function

Basic Usage

Let's start with a simple example to illustrate the use of the CONVERT function. Suppose you want to convert 10 pounds to kilograms. The formula would be: =CONVERT(10, "lbm", "kg"). When this formula is entered into a cell, Excel will return the equivalent weight in kilograms.

It's important to note that Excel uses specific abbreviations for units of measurement. For instance, 'lbm' stands for pounds mass, 'kg' for kilograms, 'm' for meters, and so on. Excel has a comprehensive list of these abbreviations, which users should familiarize themselves with to effectively use the CONVERT function.

Advanced Usage

The CONVERT function can also be used with other Excel functions for more complex calculations. For example, you can use it with the SUM function to add up values in different units. Suppose you have weights in both pounds and kilograms, and you want to find their total in kilograms. You can use the CONVERT function to convert the weights in pounds to kilograms, and then use the SUM function to add them up.

Similarly, the CONVERT function can be used with the AVERAGE function to find the average of values in different units. The possibilities are endless, and with a bit of creativity, the CONVERT function can be a powerful tool in your Excel arsenal.

Common Errors and Troubleshooting

Error: #VALUE!

The #VALUE! error is one of the most common errors encountered when using the CONVERT function. This error typically occurs when the units specified in the formula are not recognized by Excel. To resolve this error, ensure that the unit abbreviations are correctly spelled and are in the correct format.

Another common cause of the #VALUE! error is when the number to be converted is in text format. The CONVERT function requires the number to be in numeric format. If your number is in text format, you can use the VALUE function to convert it to a numeric format before using the CONVERT function.

Error: #N/A

The #N/A error occurs when the CONVERT function cannot find the conversion path between the 'from_unit' and the 'to_unit'. This usually happens when trying to convert between incompatible units, like trying to convert pounds to meters. To avoid this error, ensure that the units you're trying to convert are compatible.

It's also worth noting that the CONVERT function does not support all units of measurement. If you're trying to convert a unit that's not supported by the function, Excel will return the #N/A error. In such cases, you might need to find a workaround or use a different tool for the conversion.


The CONVERT function in Excel is a versatile and powerful tool that can significantly simplify data analysis and manipulation. By understanding its syntax, usage, and common errors, you can effectively use this function to convert between a wide range of units, enhancing your productivity and efficiency in Excel.

Remember, practice is key when it comes to mastering Excel functions. So, don't hesitate to experiment with the CONVERT function and explore its potential. Happy converting!

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