Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Establishing a FLOOR and CEILING.

Establishing a FLOOR and CEILING

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 18, 2017)

Chances are good that you know how to use the primary rounding functions in Excel: ROUND, ROUNDUP, and ROUNDDOWN. There are two other similar functions you can use, as well: FLOOR and CEILING. The FLOOR function allows you to round down (toward zero) while the CEILING function rounds up (away from zero). Unlike other rounding functions, however, FLOOR and CEILING work with multiples of numbers. For instance, consider the following formula:


This formula will return a value of 24. Why? Because 24 is the largest multiple of 12 between 27 and 0. The CEILING function works similarly, as follows:


This formula returns 36, since that is the next multiple of 12 away from zero, but larger than 27.

Both FLOOR and CEILING, as you can tell, require two arguments. The first is the number to be "rounded." Actually, this is a misnomer, as there is no real rounding taking place—the number represents the starting point for determining a relationship between the multiple value (the second argument) and zero.

FLOOR and CEILING can come in handy if you are trying to figure out multiples of items. (In this way it is similar to the MROUND function.) For instance, suppose you were running your youth group candy sale, and you could only deliver candy to the kids in full boxes. Each box contained 12 candy bars. Suppose cell B3 contained an order quantity, and cell C3 contained the number of candy bars in each box (in this case, 12). You could place the following formula in cell D3 to return the number of full boxes that should be delivered:


If the number of candy bars ordered (in cell B3) is 31, then the value returned by the formula will be 2. (2 boxes at 12 bars each is 24 bars.) Granted, this formula could also be easily constructed using the INT or TRUNC functions (Excel very often provides multiple ways to accomplish the same tasks). You could use the CEILING function in place of the FLOOR function in this example if you wanted to "round up" to the next full box above what is required for the candy order:


Using the same scenario, this formula would return 3 (3 boxes, or 36 candy bars).

When using FLOOR and CEILING, remember that the sign of the arguments must match. If one argument is positive and the other negative, Excel returns an error value of #NUM!.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2152) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Establishing a FLOOR and CEILING.

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. ...


Special Differences when Searching

Word includes two different search engines. Which search engine you choose to use will dictate what Word shows as ...

Discover More

Changing How Arrows Look

If you use Excel's graphic capabilities to insert a line or an arrow into a worksheet, you can change how that arrow ...

Discover More

Grouping Records in a Mail Merge

Need to group records in some manner when they are used in a mail merge? It can be frustrating when your records are not ...

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (menu)

Rounding to the Nearest $50

When preparing financial reports, it may make your data easier to understand if you round it to the nearest multiple, ...

Discover More

Selective Summing

If you want to add up the contents of a range of cells based on what is contained in a different range of cells, you need ...

Discover More

Rounding to Even and Odd Values

Want to round values so they are always even or odd? You can do it quickly and easily by using the EVEN and ODD worksheet ...

Discover More

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

View most recent newsletter.


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}] in your comment text. You’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 4 + 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—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.

Newest Tips

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

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.