How to Work Out Percentage Difference in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Work Out Percentage Difference in Excel

Figuring out the percentage difference between two numbers in Excel is pretty straightforward. Here’s a quick rundown: you’ll need to use a simple formula to calculate the difference between the two numbers, then divide that difference by the original number, and finally multiply by 100 to convert it to a percentage. Now, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty details so you can master this skill.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Work Out Percentage Difference in Excel

This guide will walk you through the process of calculating the percentage difference between two numbers in Excel, step by step. By the end, you’ll be able to use this formula with ease for any set of numbers.

Step 1: Open Excel and Enter Your Data

First, open Excel and input your two numbers into separate cells. For instance, put the first number in cell A1 and the second number in cell B1.

Having your data in Excel is the first step. Make sure to label your columns clearly so you can easily follow along.

Step 2: Select a Cell for the Percentage Difference

Next, choose a cell where you want the percentage difference to appear. For example, select cell C1.

Selecting a specific cell for the result helps keep your spreadsheet organized. It also makes it easy to reference the result later on.

Step 3: Enter the Formula

In the cell you selected in Step 2, type the following formula: =(B1 – A1) / A1 * 100 and press Enter.

This formula calculates the difference between the two numbers, divides by the original number to get the ratio, and then multiplies by 100 to convert it to a percentage.

Step 4: Format the Result as a Percentage

After you’ve entered the formula, select cell C1 again and go to the Home tab. Click the Percentage button in the Number group.

Formatting the result as a percentage makes it easier to read and understand. Excel will automatically add the percentage symbol for you.

Step 5: Double-Check Your Formula

Finally, double-check your formula to ensure it’s correct. You can do this by clicking on cell C1 and reviewing the formula in the formula bar.

Verifying your work is crucial. It helps catch any mistakes early on and ensures you get accurate results.

Once you complete these steps, Excel will display the percentage difference between your two numbers in the selected cell.

Tips for Working Out Percentage Difference in Excel

  • Always label your columns and rows to keep track of your data.
  • Use cell references instead of typing numbers directly into the formula for easier updates.
  • Double-check your formulas to avoid errors.
  • Use parentheses to ensure that Excel calculates your formula in the correct order.
  • Format your results as percentages for better readability.

Frequently Asked Questions about Working Out Percentage Difference in Excel

What is the formula for percentage difference in Excel?

The formula is: =(New Value – Old Value) / Old Value * 100.

How do I format a cell as a percentage in Excel?

Go to the Home tab, find the Number group, and click the Percentage button.

Can I use this formula for negative numbers?

Yes, the formula works for both positive and negative numbers.

What if my original number is zero?

If your original number is zero, the formula will result in a division error (#DIV/0!).

Can I apply this formula to a range of cells?

Yes, you can drag the fill handle to apply the formula to adjacent cells.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open Excel and enter your data.
  2. Select a cell for the percentage difference.
  3. Enter the formula: =(B1 – A1) / A1 * 100.
  4. Format the result as a percentage.
  5. Double-check your formula.


Working out the percentage difference in Excel is a valuable skill, whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who loves data. Excel’s straightforward formulas and user-friendly interface make it easy to perform these calculations. Remember, the key steps involve entering your data, applying the correct formula, and formatting the result as a percentage. Double-checking your work ensures accuracy.

So, get into the habit of using Excel to crunch your numbers. With these steps, tips, and answers to common questions, you’re now equipped to handle percentage differences like a pro. Dive into your data and start making those calculations. You might be surprised at what insights you’ll uncover. Happy calculating!

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