Curriculum Area:
Mathematics/ Science
Grade Level:
Yrs 3 and up
Application:
Microsoft Excel 2002
Tip:
Use the CONVERT function in Excel to convert measurements from one system to another.
Description:
If students need to quickly and easily convert measurements from one system
to another, Excel has a special, builtin function that can do exactly that.
For example, if the class just finished reading a book that talked about measuring
in meters, it would be helpful for them to understand the measurements in inches
or even feet. Excel can do this type of converting in a matter of seconds.
This is especially handy when students are too young to do conversion calculations.
Note: The Excel formula that does the converting automatically is
appropriately called CONVERT. In order to use this function, the Analysis ToolPak
must be installed and enabled through the AddIns dialog box.
(See How To for details.)
More Information:
The CONVERT function looks like this:
=CONVERT(number,from_unit,to_unit)
The number is the value assigned to the from_unit that you are trying to convert.
The from_unit is the unit of measurement that you are converting from, while the to_unit
is the unit of measurement that you are trying to convert the number to.
The following example converts 200 minutes to hours:
=CONVERT(200,"mn","hr")
Notice that the from_unit and the to_unit are abbreviations enclosed in quotation marks.
When writing this type of formula, quotation marks are necessary. And you must use
abbreviations that Excel "understands" in order for the CONVERT function to work properly.
Excel can convert many types of measurements. Some of the popular ones are listed below;
see Excel Help for the entire list. Notice that some unit abbreviations are
capitalizedcapitalization makes a difference when writing the formula.
Weight and Mass

from_unit or to_unit

Gram

"g"

Pound mass

"lbm"

U (atomic mass unit)

"u"

Ounce mass

"ozm"

Distance

from_unit or to_unit

Meter

"m"

Statute mile

"mi"

Nautical mile

"Nmi"

Inch

"in"

Foot

"ft"

Yard

"yd"

Time

from_unit or to_unit

Year

"yr"

Day

"day"

Hour

"hr"

Minute

"mn"

Second

"sec"

Temperature

from_unit or to_unit

Degree Celsius

"C"

Degree Fahrenheit

"F"

Liquid Measure

from_unit or to_unit

Teaspoon

"tsp"

Tablespoon

"tbs"

Fluid ounce

"oz"

Cup

"cup"

U.S. pint

"pt"

Quart

"qt"

Gallon

"gal"

Liter

"l"

How To:
 Start Microsoft Excel.

Before you begin typing your data, make sure the Analysis ToolPak is installed.
To do this, select AddIns from the Tools menu, select
Analysis ToolPak, and then click OK.
NOTE: If this option is not installed yet, you will be asked to
install it from your Microsoft Office XP CD. Once it is installed, you will be
ready to use the CONVERT function.

You might find it easier to read and interpret your data if you first
create a new Excel spreadsheet containing a list of units that you need to convert
(for example, minutes or degrees Fahrenheit).
In the example below, the data has been typed down the A column, starting in cell
A1.

A 
1 
Minutes 
2 
200 
3 
321 
4 
187 
5 
60 
6 
155 
 In a different cell (for example, B1), type a title for the type of conversion you are about to make.

Below this title (for example, in cell B2), type the formula that will
convert the first number you typed. Use the following formula:
=CONVERT(number,from_unit,to_unit) .
IMPORTANT: For the number part of the formula, instead of typing
the actual number, type the cell that the number is in (for example, A2). This
will make it fast and easy to repeat or copy this formula down the column. For
example, if the number is in cell A2, you would type A2 in the formula to represent
the number.

Next, copy the new formula down the column to complete the conversion
for the other numbers in your list. To make copying go quickly, just doubleclick
the AutoFill handle (the box in the bottomright corner of the cell that contains
the formula) to copy the formula down to the last row in which you typed numbers.
Sample Spreadsheet That Converts Minutes to Hours:

A

B

Actual Conversion

1

Minutes

Min. to Hours

Min. to Hours

2

200

=CONVERT(A2,"mn","hr")

3.33

3

321

=CONVERT(A3,"mn","hr")

5.35

4

187

=CONVERT(A4,"mn","hr")

3.12

5

60

=CONVERT(A5,"mn","hr")

1.00

6

155

=CONVERT(A6,"mn","hr")

2.58

Sample Spreadsheet That Converts Degrees Fahrenheit to Degrees Celsius:

A

B

Actual Conversion

1

F

Degrees F to Degrees C

F to C

2

32

=CONVERT(A2,"F","C")

0.0

3

321

=CONVERT(A3,"F","C")

10.0

4

187

=CONVERT(A4,"F","C")

37.8

5

60

=CONVERT(A5,"F","C")

12.2

6

155

=CONVERT(A6,"F","C")

17.8



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