How to Subtract Percentages in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Subtract Percentages in Excel

Subtracting percentages in Excel is pretty straightforward and can be accomplished in just a few steps. All you have to do is enter the original number, the percentage you want to subtract, and use a simple formula to get your answer. It’s as easy as typing numbers into cells and letting Excel do the math for you.

Step-by-Step Tutorial for Subtracting Percentages in Excel

In this tutorial, we’ll walk through how to subtract a percentage from a number using Excel. This involves inputting data into cells and applying a formula to perform the subtraction.

Step 1: Open Excel and Enter Your Data

The first step is to open Excel and enter your original number and the percentage you want to subtract into separate cells.

Let’s say you have the number 100 in cell A1 and you want to subtract 20% from it. Enter "100" into cell A1 and "20%" into cell B1.

Step 2: Write the Subtraction Formula

Now, you’ll write a formula to subtract the percentage. In a new cell, type "=A1*(1-B1)".

This formula is telling Excel to take the value in cell A1 and multiply it by 1 minus the value in cell B1. So, in this case, it will calculate 100 * (1 – 0.20), which equals 80.

Step 3: Press Enter to Calculate

After typing the formula, press Enter to see the result.

The cell where you typed the formula will now display the new value after the percentage has been subtracted. In this example, it will show "80".

Step 4: Adjust Formatting if Necessary

If your result doesn’t look right, you might need to adjust the formatting of your cells to ensure they display numbers correctly.

Right-click the cell with your result, select "Format Cells," and make sure it’s set to "Number" or another appropriate format.

Step 5: Repeat if Needed

If you have more numbers to subtract percentages from, repeat these steps, adjusting the cell references in your formula as needed.

What you’ll see after completing these steps is that Excel has taken your original number and subtracted the percentage, giving you the final result in a matter of seconds.

Tips for Subtracting Percentages in Excel

  • Always double-check your cell references to avoid errors.
  • Use absolute cell references (e.g., $A$1) if you plan to copy the formula to other cells.
  • Make sure your percentage values are actually formatted as percentages.
  • If you want to subtract the same percentage from multiple numbers, consider entering the percentage in a single cell and referencing that cell in your formula.
  • Practice with small data sets first to ensure you understand the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I subtract a percentage from a total in Excel?

Use the formula =Total*(1-Percentage). For example, if your total is in cell A1 and the percentage in cell B1, the formula will be =A1*(1-B1).

Can I subtract multiple percentages at once?

You can, but you’ll need to use a more complex formula or multiple steps. For simplicity, subtract one percentage at a time.

How do I make sure my percentage is formatted correctly?

Right-click the cell with the percentage, select "Format Cells," and choose "Percentage" from the list.

What if my percentage is in decimal form?

You can use it directly in the formula. For instance, if you want to subtract 0.20 (which is 20%), your formula would still be =A1*(1-0.20).

Can I use Excel to add and subtract percentages in the same formula?

Yes, you can. Just combine formulas using parentheses to ensure the correct order of operations.


  1. Open Excel and Enter Your Data
  2. Write the Subtraction Formula
  3. Press Enter to Calculate
  4. Adjust Formatting if Necessary
  5. Repeat if Needed


Subtracting percentages in Excel is a skill that can save you a lot of time and effort, especially if you’re dealing with large sets of data. With just a few clicks and some basic formulas, you can quickly and accurately manage your percentage calculations. Whether you’re working on a school project, managing a budget, or analyzing data, knowing how to subtract percentages in Excel is incredibly useful. Practice these steps and soon you’ll be able to handle more complex tasks with ease.

Want to delve deeper? Check out other Excel tutorials and become an Excel wizard!

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