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How to subtract in Microsoft Excel



One of the most common functions you find in Excel is basic math. You will find that most operations have simple formulas that you can use to add, multiply and more. However, there is no formula in Excel that allows you to subtract. Instead, here are some alternative methods for subtracting in Excel.

How to subtract in Excel:

1. The most basic way to subtract is to build your own formula. As always, you must start with a equal sign (=) and then add your numbers. If you do math within a single cell, you can use numbers similar to the image below. The formula shows as = 100-17-12 .

  excel subtract 1

2. You can also subtract whole cells in the same way. Instead of using numbers, you just have to use cell identities instead. In the example below, you see A1, A2 and A3 placed in the formula in cell A4. The formula reads = A1-A2-A3 .

  excel subtract 2

3. Once you have mastered the art of subtracting with cells, you can make things a little easier for yourself. You can use the SUM formula to add any cells you want to subtract and then use it instead of typing each cell. This means that your formula looks like this: = A1-SUM (A2: A5) .

  excel subtract 3

4. You can also get really nice and subtract two columns from each other. All it takes is to create a simple = A1-B1 formula. Then you can drag the formula through the entire line, just like the picture below.

  excel subtract 4

There you go, these are four different ways to subtract in Excel. You can choose which one you prefer and they are all useful for different types of subtraction.

What more can you do in Excel?

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