How To Subtract In Excel

6 min read|Last Updated: January 1st, 2024|Categories: excel|
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How to subtract in Excel

Unlike the SUM function which has a predefined formula in Excel, subtraction in excel should usually be done manually. However, you can also write a macro for subtraction in Excel. But in this tutorial, we will tell you how to do it manually. There are several methods to subtract in Excel, which are as follow:

Subtract in Excel Manually 

Excel Subtraction: Method 1

The easiest method to subtract in Excel is to do it in the cell where you are writing the original number. To do so, you should first select the cell where you want to see the result of subtraction. Let’s say it’s A1. Then, start your formula with “=” and write the numbers you want to subtracts and finally press “Enter.” For example, it should be something like this:

=12-10 [Enter]

The result will be shown in the same cell (A1 will turn into the result which is number 2)

Excel Subtraction method, result of =12-10 [Enter]

Excel Subtraction: Method 2

Sometimes you write the numbers in several cells and want to subtract their values. In this case, again, you should start by selecting the cell where you want to see the result. Suppose you want to subtract the values of A1 to A4 and see the result in A5. Select A5 and again start the formula with “=”. In the next step, select each cell manually and put a minus between them. For example, you should select A1 and then put a minus “-“, then select A2 and put “-“, and so on. Then press “Enter” to show the result in A5.

subtracting the value of multiple cells in Excel

Excel Subtraction: Method 3

There is a question here: what if the subtracting cells are more than just a few. What if we want to subtract the values of A1 to A20? It will not be that easy to select each cell one by one. There is a solution to this case too. You should know which cells you want to subtract from which value. For example, do you want to subtract A2 to A19 from A1? If it’s the case, you can first SUM A2 to A19 in another cell (for example A20). Then subtract A20 from A1 in another cell. 

However, you can also do all these functions in one formula. First, select the cell where you want to see the result (for example A21), then like always, start your formula with “=”. Select the cell from which the subtraction should be done. In th