How to Use Percentage Formula in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to use percentage formula in excel

Using percentage formulas in Excel can seem complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze. This guide will walk you through the process step by step. Whether you’re calculating discounts, interest rates, or any other percentage-based figures, you’ll learn how to do it all in Excel.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Use Percentage Formula in Excel

In this section, we’ll go through the steps to calculate percentages in Excel. By the end, you’ll be able to handle different types of percentage calculations with ease.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Worksheet

First, open the Excel worksheet where you want to perform the calculations.

When you open your Excel worksheet, make sure you have the data you’ll be working with. It could be things like prices, quantities, or any other numbers.

Step 2: Select the Cell for Your Formula

Next, click on the cell where you want the percentage result to appear.

This will be the cell where you write your formula. Make sure it’s empty or ready to receive new data.

Step 3: Enter the Basic Percentage Formula

Type =A1/B1 into the selected cell and press Enter.

Here, A1 and B1 are your data cells. This formula divides the number in cell A1 by the number in cell B1 to get a basic percentage.

Step 4: Format the Cell as a Percentage

After you get your result, right-click on the result cell, select ‘Format Cells,’ and choose ‘Percentage.’

This step ensures that your result is displayed as a percentage rather than a decimal.

Step 5: Multiply by 100 (if needed)

If you didn’t format the cell in the previous step, multiply your result by 100 to convert it from a decimal to a percentage. Type =(A1/B1)*100.

Sometimes, you might skip the format step. In such cases, multiplying by 100 converts the decimal to a percentage directly.

After completing these steps, Excel will display the percentage based on your input data. You can now use this method to calculate percentages for any data set.

Tips and Tricks: How to Use Percentage Formula in Excel

Here are some tips to make using percentage formulas in Excel even easier:

  • Always double-check your cell references to make sure you’re dividing the correct numbers.
  • Use the ‘Format Cells’ feature to display your results as percentages automatically.
  • Try using formulas like =SUM(A1:A10)/B1 to calculate percentages for multiple numbers.
  • Remember that percentages in Excel can also be used for increases and decreases. Use formulas like =A1(1+B1) for increases and =A1(1-B1) for decreases.
  • Learn keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Shift+% to quickly format cells as percentages.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I calculate a percentage increase in Excel?

Use the formula =((New Value – Old Value)/Old Value)*100. This will give you the percentage increase.

How can I find the percentage of a total in Excel?

Use the formula =Part/Total*100. This will give you the percentage that the part represents of the total.

Can I use percentage formulas for negative numbers?

Yes, percentage formulas work with negative numbers too. Just make sure to use parentheses as needed to clarify your calculations.

How do I display decimals as percentages?

Select the cell, right-click, choose ‘Format Cells,’ and select ‘Percentage.’ You can adjust the number of decimal places there.

What if my formula returns an error?

Check your cell references and make sure you’re not dividing by zero. Errors often happen due to simple mistakes like these.


  1. Open Your Excel Worksheet
  2. Select the Cell for Your Formula
  3. Enter the Basic Percentage Formula
  4. Format the Cell as a Percentage
  5. Multiply by 100 (if needed)


Calculating percentages in Excel is a straightforward process once you know the steps. Whether you’re dealing with finances, grades, or statistical data, mastering the percentage formula in Excel can save you a lot of time and effort.

Remember to double-check your formulas and cell references to avoid errors. With practice, you’ll find that using these formulas becomes second nature.

For further reading, consider exploring Excel’s other functions like SUM, AVERAGE, and IF, which can complement your percentage calculations. Now that you’re equipped with this knowledge, go ahead and make those numbers work for you!

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