How to use Excel to calculate the bearing between two points

Updated April 17, 2017

A “bearing” is a direction in navigation. Bearings are given for one point in relation to another. The bearing of point A relative to point B is expressed as an angle with respect to true north or magnetic north the unit of measure for the bearing is degrees. You can calculate the bearing of one point from another in Excel.

Open Excel with a new spreadsheet. You will create a model that will enable you to find the bearing between any two given points.

Stretch column A by clicking on the border between the “A” label and “B” label at the top of the spreadsheet. Drag the column across to give it the width of three standard Excel columns.

Click in A1 and type “Bearings Calculator.” Click on the “1” label for the row and increase the font size in the “Home” tab to 18. Click on the label again and press the “B” button in the “Home” tab, to make the text bold.

Type “Enter base point” in cell A3 and “Enter remote point” In A5. Type “Lat” in B3 and B5 and “Long” in D3 and D5.

Type “Bearing Calculation” in A7. Click on the “7” label of the row, press the “B” button in the “Home” tab and set the font size to 14.

Enter the following formula in B7: =MOD(ATAN2(COS(C3)_SIN(C5)-SIN(C3)_COS(C5)_COS(E5-E3),SIN(E5-E3)_COS(C5))+360,360). Enter values in lines 3 and 5 to get results from the formula.

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About the Author

Stephen Byron Cooper began writing professionally in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computing from the University of Plymouth and a Master of Science in manufacturing systems from Kingston University. A career as a programmer gives him experience in technology. Cooper also has experience in hospitality management with knowledge in tourism.