How To Calculate Percentages

Often percentages can be frustrating because it’s sometimes challenging to remember what we learned about them in school. Using Excel helps you to learn how to calculate percentages of numbers for you – simple formulas can assist you in finding the percentage of a total, for example, or the percentage difference between two numbers.

Applies to: Excel for Microsoft 365, Excel for Microsoft 365 for Mac, Excel for the web, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, Excel 2016 for Mac, Excel for Mac 2011.


Important: The calculated results of formulas and some Excel worksheet functions may differ slightly between a Windows PC using x86 or x86-64 architecture and a Windows RT PC using ARM architecture. Learn more about the differences.

Find the percentage of a total

Imagine that your company sold $125,000 this quarter, and you must discover what percentage $20,000 is of the total.

  1. To check, divide $20,000 by $125,000. Here’s the formula in cell C2: =B2/A2. The result is displayed as 0.16 because cell C2 is formatted differently compared to a percentage.
$125,000 in cell A2, $20,000 in cell B2, and 0.16 in cell C3 - finding the percentage of numbers.
  1. To format 0.16 as a percentage, (which will also delete the zero) on the Home tab, select the Percentage button. If you are using Excel for the Web, press Home > Number Format > Percentage.
Percentage button on the Home tab
  1. Now we see that $20,000 is 16% of $125,000.
$125,000 in cell a2, $20,000 in cell b2, and 16% in cell c2

Tip: Formatting is crucial in getting answers laid out as percentages. Learn more in displaying numbers as percentages.

Find the percentage of change between two numbers

A company sold $485,000 in 2011 and $598,634 in 2012. What’s the percent change between the two years?

  1. Firstly, select cell B3 to import the Percentage format to the cell. On the Home tab, choose the Percentage button. If you are using Excel for the Web, pick Home > Number Format > Percentage.
  2. In cell B3, divide the second year’s sales ($598,634.00) by the first year ($485,000.00), and then subtract 1.
$485,000 in cell A2, $598,634 in cell B2, and 23% in cell B3, the percentage of change between the two numbers
  1. Here’s the formula in cell C3. =(B2/A2)-1. The percentage of change between the two years is 23%. Pay attention to the parentheses around (B2/A2). Excel calculates what’s in parentheses first, and then subtracts the 1.

See also

Multiply by a percentage


Calculate a running total

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