Online Calculators since 2009
Absolute difference is essentially the distance between 2 numbers on a line, calculated using the formula x - y.
|x - y =|
Calculating the absolute difference provides a simple indication of the difference between 2 sets of numbers, for example: 4.5 -2.3 = 2.2 with 2.2 being the difference. Relative difference, however, expresses this change as a percentage.
Being able to calculate absolute difference is a calculation that often occurs through day to day life. Although it tends to go unnoticed, its actually commonly used. When you pay for your shopping using a £20 note either the cashier mentally calculates or uses a device to calculate the absolute difference between the change given and the total price, in which you receive change, being the absolute difference in this scenario.
This formula acts as a simple base for a variety of calculations, whether its calculating the length of time left before a deadline, distance, speed and so forth, if you are trying to calculate the difference between two points then you are in fact using and applying the absolute difference formula.
Absolute values is the term used to explain the distance between a number from 0. The absolute value is never negative, it is either always positive or 0. This is due to the absolute value referring to magnitude rather than direction. For example, in terms of absolute value, both 1 and 5 are an absolute difference of 2, but if direction were to be considered, 1 would be -2 away with 5 being +2 away.
You may also find the following Math calculators useful.