How do I Use Megabytes & Kilobytes in an Excel Spreadsheet?

by C. Taylor

Excel's Convert function has been around for a long time, but it wasn't until Excel 2013 that Microsoft added bits and bytes to the Convert function's capabilities. With the proper formatting, the Convert function quickly converts bits and bytes with any applicable prefix, so you can use kilobytes and megabytes in Excel.


Enter the Convert function in a blank cell, using the following format: =Convert(value,"from","to")


Change "value" in the formula to the number you want converted. You can also enter a cell reference, such as "A1," to convert a number from an existing cell. However, the referenced cell must contain only a number without any text, including the unit abbreviation.


Change "from" to the value's original unit. Use "bit" or "byte" for any units of bits or bytes, and add the "ki," "Mi," "Gi" and "Ti" prefix to designate kilo, mega, giga and tera prefixes. Units are case-sensitive and must be surrounded by quotation marks.


Change "to" to the unit you're converting to. Use the same format that you used in the "from" field. As an example, to convert 2,048 kilobytes to megabytes, use the following formula: =Convert(2048,"kibyte","Mibyte") Note that "kibyte" uses all lowercase characters, as opposed to "Mibyte." As another example, to convert the number in cell A1 from bits to gigabytes, use the following formula: =Convert(A1,"bit","Gibyte")


  • Computers recognize kilobytes as 1,024 bytes and megabytes as 1,024 kilobytes. However, hard drive, memory card and flash drive manufacturers typically use the metric system's 1,000 multiplier when changing from bytes to kilobytes to megabytes and then to gigabytes. That is why your computer reads a smaller amount of usable space on an empty drive than is advertised. Internet speeds also use this format. If you need to convert between metric units of bits and bytes, use the prefixes "k," "M," "G" or "T" instead of "ki," "Mi," "Gi" or "Ti."

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