Learn how to use the abs function in Notion formulas.
The abs() function calculates the absolute value of a number.
A number’s absolute value is simply how far it is away from zero. Therefore, the absolute value of a negative number is equal to its positive equivalent - e.g. abs(-5) == 5.
In mathematical notation, absolute values are expressed by wrapping a number in || signs:
12  =12|-12\;| = 12

Example Formulas

abs(-42) // Output: 42
abs(42) // Output: 42

Example Database

Notion’s dateBetween function subtracts the second argument from the first, and returns a number depending on the specified unit of time (e.g. “hours” or “seconds”).
If the second argument is a later date than the first argument’s date, dateBetween() will return a negative number. The formula in the table below uses the abs() function to ensure that the output is always positive.

View and Duplicate Database

“Seconds Between” Property Formula

abs(dateBetween(prop("Date 1"), prop("Date 2"), "seconds"))

Other formula components used in this example:

About the Author

My name is Thomas Frank, and I'm a Notion-certified writer, YouTuber, and template creator. I've been using Notion since 2018 to organize my personal life and to run my business and YouTube channel. In addition to this formula reference, I've created a free Notion course for beginners and several productivity-focused Notion templates. If you'd like to connect, follow me on Twitter.
Last modified 4mo ago