# Working with Roman Numerals

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated September 18, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003

Excel includes a worksheet function that allows you to convert a number to Roman numerals. (Hmmm. Let's see... I was born in MCMLVI. Dang! I'm a classic!) The simplest way to use the Roman numerals is as follows:

```=ROMAN(123)
```

All you need to do, obviously, is replace 123 with the number you want converted. You can use any number between 1 and 3999. (Romans apparently never worked with numbers outside this range.)

You can also, if desired, use a second argument to indicate how the resulting Roman numerals should be put together. The different arguments you can use are 0 through 4, with 0 being the default. An argument of 0 returns Roman numerals in the classic form, and 4 returns an extremely simplified Roman numeral. Values between 0 and 4 return progressively more simplified versions. The simplification of Roman numerals typically only comes into play when dealing with larger numbers. For instance, the following shows the various levels of simplification of the number 1999:

Formula Result =ROMAN(1999,0) MCMXCIX =ROMAN(1999,1) MLMVLIV =ROMAN(1999,2) MXMIX =ROMAN(1999,3) MVMIV =ROMAN(1999,4) MIM

You should note that the ROMAN function returns a text value, and you therefore cannot use the result in any sort of calculation—as far as Excel is concerned, it is no longer a number.

Older versions of Excel (including Excel 2003) do not include a function to convert Roman numerals back to Arabic numbers. If you want to use a formulaic approach to do the conversion, you can try this:

```=MATCH(A1,INDEX(ROMAN(ROW(INDIRECT("1:4000"))),0),0)
```

This presumes that the Roman numerals are in cell A1. If you prefer, you can create your own user-defined function to do the conversion to Arabic:

```Public Function UnRoman(RomanNumber As String) As Integer
Dim MySum As Integer
Dim MyDeduct As Integer
Dim MyWord As String
Dim L As String
Dim WordLength As Integer
Dim i As Integer
Dim MyArray() As Integer

MySum = 0
MyDeduct = 0
MyWord = UCase(RomanNumber)
WordLength = Len(MyWord)
ReDim MyArray(WordLength + 1)

For i = 1 To WordLength
L = Mid(MyWord, i, 1)
MyArray(i) = Switch(L = "I", 1, L = "V", 5, _
L = "X", 10, L = "L", 50, L = "C", 100, _
L = "D", 500, L = "M", 1000)
MySum = MySum + MyArray(i)
Next
For i = 1 To WordLength - 1
If MyArray(i) < MyArray(i + 1) Then
MyDeduct = MyDeduct + MyArray(i)
End If
Next
'Now deduct twice the value of the subtraction numbers
UnRoman = MySum - 2 * MyDeduct
End Function
```

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (1956) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

##### Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Renaming an AutoText Entry

There are a couple of ways that you can rename an existing AutoText entry. This tip describes the techniques you can use, ...

Discover More

Need to format the rows of a table so that your data is showcased better? Here are a few ways you can get the shading you ...

Discover More

Determining the Length of a String

Need to find out in a macro how long a particular text string is? You can figure it out by using the Len function, ...

Discover More

Save Time and Supercharge Excel! Automate virtually any routine task and save yourself hours, days, maybe even weeks. Then, learn how to make Excel do things you thought were simply impossible! Mastering advanced Excel macros has never been easier. Check out Excel 2010 VBA and Macros today!

Returning a Blank Value

Is it possible for a formula to return a blank value? It depends on how you define your terms. This tip examines all the ...

Discover More

Iterating Circular References

Does your data require that you perform calculations using circular references? If so, then you'll want to be aware of ...

Discover More

Counting Unique Values with Functions

Using Excel to maintain lists of information is not unusual. When working with the list you may need to determine how ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 6 - 6?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your commentâ€”just use the simple form above!)

##### This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.