Converting Measurement Units: Using the Convert Function in Microsoft Excel

Updated on August 2, 2018
Joshua Crowder profile image

Joshua has work experience in manufacturing, distribution, and aerospace. He received his BBA in accounting from Kent State University.

Why Use Excel to Convert Measurement Units

Microsoft Excel can play hard ball when it comes to creating conversion tables. The Convert function can be utilized when one has a lot of data to convert to an alternate unit of measurement. The convert function coverts weight and mass, distance, time, pressure, force, energy, power, magnetism, temperature, volume, area, information, speed, prefixes and binary prefixes. With all of these types of conversions it’s safe to say that this is indeed a powerful function of Excel.

Convert Function Example: Fahrenheit to Celsius Coversion

A common conversion is from Fahrenheit to Celsius when measuring temperature. A blank worksheet and completed worksheet for the following example data can be downloaded here. Data is displayed below in Fahrenheit and needs to be converted to Celsius. This can be easily accomplished by using the convert function.

To start using this function type “=convert(“ in the cell where you would like the converted data to display. There are only three pieces of data that the convert function needs to create a conversion. The first of the data is the original unit measurement (in this case Fahrenheit). The original measure can be a value or a cell that contains that value. The next two values need to represent values that tell Excel from what measurement and to what measurement.

For this function to work properly the syntax must be used properly. In the illustration below the cell B4 is being converted from “F” to “C” or from Fahrenheit to Celsius. There should be a comma with no spaces between each set of data in this function. To convert Atlanta's January high to Celsius you would have to type =convert(B4,"F","C")

Once the formula is entered formula can be copied down with the fill handle to convert the rest of the Fahrenheit temperatures in column B.

Correct Syntax Use

The remainder of this text consists of tables for different types of measurements. Take notice to the next table down that displays available syntax for temperature measurements. With a simple change in the function Fahrenheit in the example can also be changed to Degrees Rankine, Degrees Réaumur or Kelvin. Any unit contained in an individual table can be converted to another unit within that table only.

Temperature Unit Syntax

Temperature
From_unit or to_unit
Degree Celsius
"C" (or "cel")
Degree Fahrenheit
"F" (or "fah")
Degrees Rankine
"Rank"
Degrees Réaumur
"Reau"
Kelvin
"K" (or "kel")

Mass & Weight Unit Syntax

(click column header to sort results)
Weight & Mass  
From_unit or to_unit  
Grain
"grain"
Gram
"g"
Imperial hundredweight
"uk_cwt" or "lcwt" ("hweight")
Imperial ton
"uk_ton" or "LTON" ("brton")
Ounce mass (avoirdupois)
"ozm"
Pound mass (avoirdupois)
"lbm"
Slug
"sg"
Stone
"stone"
Ton
"ton"
U (atomic mass unit)
"u"
U.S. (short) hundredweight
"cwt" or "shweight"

Distance Unit Syntax

Distance
From_unit or to_unit
Angstrom
"ang"
Ell
"ell"
Foot
"ft"
Inch
"in"
Light-year
"ly"
Meter
"m"
Nautical mile
"Nmi"
Parsec
"parsec" or "pc"
Pica (1/6 inch)
"pica"
Pica (1/72 inch)
"Picapt" or "Pica"
Statute mile
"mi"
U.S survey mile (statute mile)
"survey_mi"
Yard
"yd"

Time Unit Syntax

Time
From_unit or to_unit
Day
"day" or "d"
Hour
"hr"
Minute
"mn" or "min"
Second
"sec" or "s"

Pressure Unit Syntax

Pressure
From_unit or to_unit
Atmosphere
"atm" (or "at")
mm of Mercury
"mmHg"
Pascal
"Pa" (or "p")
PSI
"psi"
Torr
"Torr"

Force Unit Syntax

Force
From_unit or to_unit
Dyne
"dyn" (or "dy")
Newton
"N"
Pond
"pond"

Energy Unit Syntax

Energy
From_unit or to_unit
BTU
"BTU" (or "btu")
Electron volt
"eV" (or "ev")
Erg
"e"
Foot-pound
"flb"
Horsepower-hour
"HPh" (or "hh")
IT calorie
"cal"
Joule
"J"
Thermodynamic calorie
"c"
Watt-hour
"Wh" (or "wh")

Power Unit Syntax

Power
From_unit or to_unit
Horsepower
"HP" (or "h")
Pferdestärke
"PS"
Watt
"W" (or "w")

Magnetism Unit Syntax

Magnetism
From_unit or to_unit
Gauss
"ga"
Tesla
"T"

Volume Unit Syntax

Volume
From_unit or to_unit
Cubic angstrom
"ang3" or "ang^3"
Cubic feet
"ft3" or "ft^3"
Cubic inch
"in3" or "in^3"
Cubic light-year
"ly3" or "ly^3"
Cubic meter
"m3" or "m^3"
Cubic Mile
"mi3" or "mi^3"
Cubic nautical mile
"Nmi3" or "Nmi^3"
Cubic Pica
"Picapt3", "Picapt^3", "Pica3" or "Pica^3"
Cubic yard
"yd3" or "yd^3"
Cup
"cup"
Fluid ounce
"oz"
Gallon
"gal"
Gross Registered Ton
"GRT" ("regton")
Imperial gallon (U.K.)
"uk_gal"
Imperial quart (U.K.)
"uk_qt"
Liter
"l" or "L" ("lt")
Measurement ton (freight ton)
"MTON"
Modern teaspoon
"tspm"
Quart
"qt"
Tablespoon
"tbs"
Teaspoon
"tsp"
U.K. pint
"uk_pt"
U.S. bushel
"bushel"
U.S. oil barrel
"barrel"
U.S. pint
"pt" (or "us_pt")

Area Unit Syntax

Area
From_unit or to_unit
International acre
"uk_acre"
U.S. survey/statute acre
"us_acre"
Square angstrom
"ang2" or “ang^2"
Are
"ar"
Square feet
"ft2" or "ft^2"
Hectare
"ha"
Square inches
"in2" or "in^2"
Square light-year
"ly2" or "ly^2"
Square meters
"m2" or "m^2"
Morgen
"Morgen"
Square miles
"mi2" or "mi^2"
Square nautical miles
"Nmi2" or "Nmi^2"
Square Pica
"Picapt2", "Pica2", "Pica^2" or "Picapt^2"

Information Unit Syntax

Information
From_unit or to_unit
Bit
"bit"
Byte
"byte"

Speed Unit Syntax

Speed
From_unit or to_unit
Admiralty knot
"admkn"
Knot
"kn"
Meters per hour
"m/h" or "m/hr"
Meters per second
"m/s" or "m/sec"
Miles per hour
"mph"

Prefix Unit Syntax

Prefix
Multiplier
From_unit or to_unit
yotta
1E+24
"Y"
zetta
1E+21
"Z"
exa
1E+18
"E"
peta
1E+15
"P"
tera
1E+12
"T"
giga
1E+09
"G"
mega
1E+06
"M"
kilo
1E+03
"k"
hecto
1E+02
"h"
dekao
1E+01
"da" or "e"
deci
1E-01
"d"
centi
1E-02
"c"
milli
1E-03
"m"
micro
1E-06
"u"
nano
1E-09
"n"
pico
1E-12
"p"
femto
1E-15
"f"
atto
1E-18
"a"
zepto
1E-21
"z"

Binary Prefix Unit Syntax

Binary Prefix
Prefix Value
From_unit or to_unit
Derived from
yobi
2^80 = 1 208 925 819 614 629 174 706 176
"Yi"
yotta
zebi
2^70 = 1 180 591 620 717 411 303 424
"Zi"
zetta
exbi
2^60 = 1 152 921 504 606 846 976
"Pi"
peta
pebi
2^50 = 1 125 899 906 842 624
"Pi"
peta
tebi
2^40 = 1 099 511 627 776
"Ti"
tera
gibi
2^30 = 1 073 741 824
"Gi"
giga
mebi
2^20 = 1 048 576
"Mi"
mega
kibi
2^10 = 1024
"ki"
kilo

References:

CONVERT function. (n.d.). Retrieved July 01, 2018, from https://support.office.com/en-us/article/convert-function-d785bef1-808e-4aac-bdcd-666c810f9af2

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    © 2018 Joshua Crowder

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