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.