One of the most useful things that you can do in Microsoft Excel is to compare different data cells and calculate the difference. Subtraction is a key part of this process and can help you to get the most out of your spreadsheets.
There are several different ways to subtract in Excel and understanding these basic concepts will help you to use the program more efficiently.
Subtracting a value in a cell or column
If you have a range of numbers in your cells and you want to calculate their total, you can do this easily by using the SUM function. The SUM function is a powerful formula that can do many different things, and it can also be used to subtract whole numbers or decimals.
You can even use the SUM function to add up a cell range. This makes it a great way to combine addition and subtraction into a single operation.
Entering a SUM function into your spreadsheet can be a bit confusing at first, but it’s actually pretty simple to do. Simply enter the number you want to sum in your first cell, then the minus sign, and finally the second cell value. You can even include multiple SUM functions in your spreadsheet to make this more complex.
Subtracting a cell reference or percentage in a formula
The most common way to subtract a cell reference or percentage from another cell is by using a formula. However, this can be time-consuming and is prone to errors if you aren’t careful. You can avoid these problems by following a few simple steps.
Firstly, you need to create a formula with the minus sign operator (-). This is important because it helps to ensure that all parts of your formula are calculated before moving on to the next one.
If you are not sure which part of your formula needs to be calculated first, it is best to put a bracket on the right side of the minus sign. This will make it clear what needs to be done first.
In addition, you need to lock the reference of the cell you are subtracting with the $ sign. This will prevent the value you are subtracting from changing when the formula is copied.
You need to do this because the cell you are subtracting will be changed when you copy the formula to a new row or column.
Similarly, you need to lock the cell reference for the percentage value in your formula. This will ensure that the percentage value doesn’t change when you copy the formula to a new cell.
Subtracting an entire column in a formula
If you have a column that contains a lot of values, it can be difficult to determine which cell needs to be subtracted from which other cell. This is because the values in your column are often very large and can be quite spread out. To overcome this problem, you can use the ‘Paste Special’ trick to quickly subtract a specific cell from the rest of the column.