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A to Z of Excel Functions: The BIN2OCT Function

6 January 2017

Welcome back to our regular A to Z of Excel Functions blog.  Today we look at the BIN2OCT function.


The BIN2OCT function

This function converts a binary number (base two) to an octal number (base eight).

The BIN2OCT function employs the following syntax to operate:

BIN2OCT(number, [places])

The BIN2OCT function has the following arguments:

  • number: this is required and represents the binary number you wish to convert.  It should be noted that number cannot contain more than 10 characters (10 bits) and that the most significant bit of number is the sign bit.  The remaining nine bits are magnitude bits.  Negative numbers are represented using two's complement notation
  • places: this is optional and represents the number of characters to use.  If places is omitted, BIN2OCT uses the minimum number of characters necessary.  The argument places is useful for padding the return value with leading 0s (zeros).

Two's complement is a mathematical operation on binary numbers, as well as a binary signed number representation based on this operation.  The two's complement of an N-bit number is defined as the complement with respect to 2N; in other words, it is the result of subtracting the number from 2N.  This is also equivalent to taking the ones' complement and then adding one, since the sum of a number and its ones' complement is all 1 bits.  The two's complement of a number behaves like the negative of the original number in most arithmetic, and positive and negative numbers can coexist in a natural way.

It should be further noted that:

  • If number is not a valid binary number, or if number contains more than 10 characters (10 bits), BIN2OCT returns the #NUM! error value
  • If number is negative, BIN2OCT ignores places and returns a 10-character octal number
  • If BIN2OCT requires more than places characters, it returns the #NUM! error value
  • If places is not an integer, it is truncated
  • If places is nonnumeric, BIN2OCT returns the #VALUE! error value
  • If places is negative, BIN2OCT returns the #NUM! error value

Please see my example below: 

We’ll continue our A to Z of Excel Functions soon.  Keep checking back – there’s a new blog post every other business day.