The Excel COS Function

Related Functions:
SIN Function
TAN Function
Cosine of an Angle

For the simple right-angled triangle below, the cosine of the angle θ, is the ratio of the adjacent side, a, to the hypotenuse, h.

Right-Angled Triangle

I.e. for the triangle above,

Cosine Equation

The trig. ratios are discussed further on the Wikipedia Trigonometric Ratios Page

Basic Description

The Excel COS function calculates the cosine of a given angle.

The syntax of the function is:

COS( number )

Where the number argument is the angle, in radians, that you want to calculate the cosine of.

Converting from Radians to Degrees

If your angle is in degrees, you will need to convert it into radians before supplying it to the Cos function.

This can be done by using the Excel Radians function:

=RADIANS( degrees )
An example of this is given below.

Cos Function Examples

In column A of the following spreadsheet, the Excel Cos Function is used to calculate the cosine of four different angles.

1=COS( 0.785398163 ) - cos of 0.785398163 Radians
2=COS( 0 ) - cos of 0 Radians
3=COS( -PI()/3 ) - cos of -π/3 Radians
4=COS( RADIANS( -30 ) ) - cos of -30 Degrees

Note that in the above examples:

Further information and examples of the Excel Cos function can be found on the Microsoft Office website.