America has two feet … does Excel?

Did you know that the U.S has two feet?  Meaning two different measurements for the term ‘foot’? That got us wondering how Excel’s Convert() handled the standard ‘foot’ and the US Survey ‘foot’.

Excel Convert() supports the International Standard Foot but not, directly, the US Survey Foot.

America Has Two Feet. It’s About to Lose One of Them tells the story of the two versions of ‘foot’ in the USA and the confusion that causes.

The standard Foot is used by almost everyone except some land surveys which use the US Survey Foot.  In some cases a building height is measured in a standard feet while it’s land coverage is in US Survey Feet.

The older Survey foot is slightly longer than the standard foot.

Basic two feet comparisons

The difference between the standard foot and the US Survey foot is tiny and only starts to matter for long measurements.

One US Survey foot equals

1.000002000004000008000016000032 standard feet or

0.30480060960122 meters

One standard foot equals

0.99999713057917  US Survey feet or

0.304799735 meters

Excel and the US Survey Foot

Turning to Excel, which as a Convert() function to do conversions between many different measurements.

Annoyingly, Excel’s Convert() does NOT have the US Survey Foot but it does have the US Survey Mile.

How to get the US Survey Foot in Excel

The US Survey Mile is 5,280 US Survey Feet (which fits because a standard mile is 5,280 standard feet).

To get a US Survey foot measurement, multiply a US Survey Mile result from Excel by 5280.

Of course, the rest of the world looks at the two different foot measurements in the USA and says “They are still using feet and not metres?”.

US Survey Mile on Wikipedia has high precision conversions

The US Survey Foot is being phased out. The NIST has an FAQ about the changeover.

Full CONVERT() measurement list for Excel
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