How to Use the SUBTRACT Function in Excel

Excel is a strong spreadsheet program from Microsoft that makes it straightforward to work with numbers and different values.

Whereas Excel incorporates a whole lot of energy, it’s additionally fairly helpful for easy addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

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In actual fact, Excel’s easy formulation make it straightforward so as to add and subtract numbers and cell values with out breaking out a calculator.

The right way to Use Subtract Perform in Excel

Lots of Excel’s strongest capabilities come by way of the usage of capabilities, that are a form of predesigned method.

For instance, the SUM operate mechanically sums or totals a spread of cells with out you having to manually add every cell to the earlier one. 

Sadly, there isn’t any SUBTRACT operate in Excel. That’s as a result of subtracting is without doubt one of the best issues you are able to do in a spreadsheet. 

I‘ve discovered that performing subtraction in Excel is so simple as getting into a easy mathematical method. Excel does the remaining. 

The method for subtracting one quantity from one other begins with an equal signal and appears like this:

=value1 – value2

It doesn’t get a lot simpler than that. You possibly can subtract discrete values or the values contained in particular person cells. 

For instance, let’s say I need to put an aquarium in my dwelling so I can get pleasure from tropical fish.

I made a spreadsheet of the completely different duties I want to finish and the way a lot I anticipate every buy to price. I then collect the receipts to notice what I truly spent. We’ll use subtract to see if my anticipated prices match actuality. 

Step 1: Kind an equal sign up a cell.

You subtract numbers and cell values in Excel utilizing a easy method. In Excel, each method begins with an equal signal, so place your cursor within the cell the place you need to present the answer and enter the next:


subtract in excel, step 1

Step 2: Add the primary cell tackle.

Place the cursor after the equal and both manually enter the primary cell tackle or use your mouse to pick the primary cell. You must now see one thing like this:


subtract in excel, step 2

Step 3: Enter a minus signal.

Place the cursor after the primary cell tackle and enter a minus signal, like this:


Step 4: Add the second cell tackle.

Place the cursor after the minus signal and both manually enter the second cell tackle or use your mouse to pick the second cell. You now have the next method:


subtract in excel, step 4

Step 5: Press enter to the answer.

Press enter to enter the method, and the answer is displayed within the cell. After operating the method on each line in my sheet, I can see that I accomplished my aquarium with $236 to spare. 

subtract in excel, step 5

Ideas for Subtracting in Excel

You’re not restricted to subtracting only one cell from one other. In my expertise, I’ve discovered that Excel can carry out many various kinds of subtraction.

For instance, you possibly can subtract whole rows and columns, in addition to cell ranges. Listed here are three tips about find out how to get probably the most out of subtracting in Excel.

The right way to Subtract A number of Cells

You’re not restricted to easy subtraction in Excel. You possibly can subtract a number of cells from a single cell by stringing collectively extra cell addresses with minus indicators.

For instance, to subtract cells C13 by way of C 18 from B12, use the method:


subtract in excel, example

You possibly can additionally write this as subtracting a spread of cells from the primary cell. On this occasion, you’d use the vary B2:B4 and enter this method:


subtract in excel, example

Simply enclose the vary you’re subtracting inside parentheses. 

The right way to Subtract Complete Columns

You could need to subtract all of the values in a single column from all of the values in one other column. That is simply achieved by copying the method from a single cell to all of the cells within the answer column.

Merely enter your subtraction method into the primary cell in a brand new column. Then, copy that method to the opposite cells within the column by dragging the nook of the primary cell down the column.

All of the cells in subsequent rows will subtract the identical two relative cells as within the first method.

For instance, for those who copy the method =D1-C1 downward by way of a column, the cells in every subsequent row would comprise the formulation:




And so forth. 

subtract in excel, column

The right way to Subtract the Similar Quantity From a Column of Numbers

Excel additionally allows you to subtract the identical quantity or cell worth from all of the cells in a column. You do that by locking the repeated quantity with greenback indicators ($). 

Let’s say you need to subtract the worth in a given cell from a spread of cells. For our instance, assume the cell you need to subtract is G1. 

You possibly can’t simply enter G1 after which copy the method as a result of Excel will change the referenced cell as you copy the method.

As a substitute, you’ll want to lock G1 into the method by utilizing greenback indicators ($) in entrance of the row and column referenced by getting into $G$1.

This tells Excel to all the time reference cell G1, regardless of the different values within the method. You find yourself with one thing like this:


Professional tip: You possibly can then copy that method down a complete column, subtracting the fastened quantity from every cell in that column.

To be taught much more about Excel, take a look at our article on The right way to Use Excel Like a Professional. This handy article incorporates 29 highly effective ideas, methods, and shortcuts that may make Excel much more highly effective. 

Getting Began

Excel contains highly effective arithmetic capabilities, together with the flexibility to subtract numbers and cell values. Excel makes easy subtraction as straightforward as writing numbers on a blackboard.

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