How to Calculate Percentage Increase in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Calculating percentage increase in Excel is a handy skill, especially if you’re dealing with financial data or tracking performance metrics. Simply put, you subtract the old value from the new value, divide the result by the old value, and then multiply by 100 to get the percentage. Let’s break down these actions into easy steps you can follow.

How to Calculate Percentage Increase in Excel

In this section, you’ll learn how to calculate the percentage increase in Excel. By following these steps, you can quickly determine how much something has increased in percentage terms over a period.

Step 1: Open Excel

First, open Microsoft Excel on your computer or device.

Opening Excel is your first step to getting started. Make sure you have the relevant version of Excel installed and ready to go.

Step 2: Enter Your Data

In a new spreadsheet, enter your old value in one cell (e.g., A1) and your new value in another cell (e.g., B1).

This step involves typing in the numbers you want to compare. For example, if you’re comparing last month’s sales to this month’s, enter those figures in separate cells.

Step 3: Create a New Cell for the Percentage Increase

In a third cell, you will calculate the percentage increase. Select an empty cell (e.g., C1).

This new cell is where the magic happens. You’ll be using a formula here to get the percentage increase.

Step 4: Type the Formula

In the selected cell (C1), type the formula: =(B1-A1)/A1*100 and press Enter.

This formula is straightforward. It subtracts the old value from the new value, divides by the old value, and multiplies by 100 to get your percentage increase.

Step 5: Review the Result

After pressing Enter, the cell will display the percentage increase.

Look at the result to see how much the value has increased. If the value is positive, that’s your increase percentage. If it’s negative, it shows a decrease.

Tips for Calculating Percentage Increase in Excel

  • Double-check your data before entering it to avoid mistakes.
  • Use cell references in your formulas to make it easy to update data.
  • Format the result cell as a percentage for easier reading.
  • Copy the formula to other cells if you have multiple data sets.
  • Use Excel’s built-in functions for more complex calculations if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I see an error in the formula cell?

An error usually means there’s a problem with your data or formula. Double-check that the cell references are correct.

Can I use this method for percentage decrease?

Yes, if the new value is less than the old value, this formula will show a negative percentage, indicating a decrease.

How can I format the result as a percentage?

Right-click the result cell, choose "Format Cells," and then select "Percentage."

What if my old value is zero?

If the old value is zero, this formula will result in an error because you can’t divide by zero. Handle such cases separately.

Can I automate this calculation for a range of data?

Yes, drag the fill handle (a small square at the cell’s corner) across other cells to apply the formula to multiple rows.


  1. Open Excel.
  2. Enter your data.
  3. Create a new cell for the percentage increase.
  4. Type the formula.
  5. Review the result.


Knowing how to calculate percentage increase in Excel can save you a ton of time and hassle. By following these straightforward steps, you can easily track changes and trends over time. Whether you’re managing a budget, reviewing sales figures, or analyzing any other type of data, this skill is invaluable.

Now that you’ve mastered the basics, consider exploring other Excel functions and formulas to enhance your data analysis skills. Excel offers endless possibilities, from simple calculations to complex data modeling.

So, what are you waiting for? Open up Excel and start calculating. Once you’re comfortable with these basics, the sky’s the limit. Feel free to dive into other Excel functionalities to make your work even more efficient and insightful. Happy calculating!

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