# HowTo: Use the Python Absolute Function

In this HowTo i’ll explain how the Python absolute function works.

## What is the Python absolute value function?

The Python absolute value function removes the minus sign from a number (it’s positive number).

``````abs(-10) # Returns 10

abs(-3) # Returns 3``````

The values you give to the abs() function can be a sum or a variable, you’ll still get a positive number returned without the minus sign.

``````abs(24 - 50) # 26

negativeNumber = -43
abs(negativeNumber) # 43``````

Of course, as with other Python functions in order to save the value that is returned by the abs() function the result of the function needs to be assigned to a variable.

``````negativeNumber = -99

positiveNumber = abs(negativeNumber)``````

The numbers you pass to the abs() function can be an integer or a float. If you try and use a string, you will get a TypeError exception. The function takes exactly 1 argument only. It is a built in function so can be used in Python programs without importing anything. It will work in either Python version 2.x or 3.x

## When might you use the Python absolute function?

The Python absolute function might be useful if you are trying to calculate the numerical difference between two negative numbers. A classic example of this is when you are working with coordinates and there is a central point which is noted by a 0.