30 Excel Functions in 30 Days: 22 – N

Icon30DayYesterday, in the 30XL30D challenge, we identified cell contents with the TYPE function, and used it to check for a number, before multiplying.
For day 22 in the challenge, we’ll examine the N function. It’s similar to the T function that we saw earlier, but checks for numbers instead of text.
NOTE: You can have all of the 30 Functions content in an easy-to-use single reference file — the 30 Excel Functions in 30 Days eBook Kit ($10).
So, let’s take a look at the N information and examples, and if you have other tips or examples, please share them in the comments.

Function 22: N

The N function returns a value converted to a number.
N00

How Could You Use N?

The N function has limited use, and can usually be replaced by a different function or operator. You can:

  • Return number based on a cell’s value
  • Use N function alternatives
  • Add a hidden note in a cell

N Syntax

The N function has the following syntax:

  • N(value)
    • value can be text, number, or any other value

N Traps

If the value is an error, the N function returns the same error, instead of a number. Use IFERROR or ISNUMBER to handle the errors.

Example 1: Return a Number Based on Cell Value

With the N function, you can return a number, based on a cell’s value. If the value is a number, then that number is returned.
=N(C3)
N01a
This table shows the result of other values in the N function.
N01b

Example 2: N Function Alternatives

Instead of the N function, you can use ISNUMBER to test for numbers.
=ISNUMBER(C3)
N02a
Or use two minus signs (double unary) to convert TRUE/FALSE or text numbers to numbers.
=IFERROR(–C3,””)
N02b

Example 3: Add Hidden Note to Cell

If you want to add a hidden note in a cell, you can use the N function. Because the result of a text value in the N function is zero, adding this note won’t affect the cell result.
The note will only be visible in the formula bar, when the cell is selected.
=SUM(B3:C3)  + N(“Store01 closed in June”)
N03

Download the N Function File

To see the formulas used in today’s examples, you can download the N function sample workbook. The file is zipped, and is in Excel 2007 file format.

Watch the N Video

To see a demonstration of the examples in the N function sample workbook, you can watch this short Excel video tutorial.
YouTube link: Return Cell Value as Number with Excel N Function

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