Link to YouTube video.

How do I subtract in Excel?

This is another very simple question to answer, but a commonly searched-for problem, so you’re not alone if you’re stuck on this.  The method is exactly the same if you want to know how to subtract in Google Sheets.

Let’s take a very simple example, we have 100 and we want to subtract 10.  The number 100 is in cell A1, and the number 10 is in cell A2:

To begin with, you need to understand that subtracting in Excel is a kind of formula, and whenever you type a formula in Excel you must begin it with the equals symbol =, and the formula is after the equals sign.  So if we want the answer to this sum to be in cell A3, we click in cell A3 and type:


and then press ENTER on your keyboard:

And there we have it, the answer to 100 minus 10 is now in cell A3:

So in a round about way, we have said to Excel “in cell A3, calculate the answer to what’s in cell A1, minus what’s in cell A2”


Another way of subtracting in Excel:

A more direct way of doing this is to “hard code” in the numbers into the cell – that might sound complicated but in fact it is even more simple than the above method.  Let’s take the exact same calculation of 100-10.  Simply click in any cell, and type in


(remembering to start your formula with an equals sign) =

Press ENTER on your keyboard, and you’ll see the result of the calculation in the cell:

Once you get the hang of these two methods, you’ll be performing all kinds of calculations in Excel and Google Sheets.  Try replacing the minus symbol – with + for addition,  * (star) for multiply, or / (slash) for divide.

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