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How to calculate percentages in Excel

Turning data into percentages can give you a new insight, or make summarising heaps of data that bit easier. Calculating percentages is easy with a calculator, but it's even easier if you have a tool to automatically calculate percentages for you. This is where the percentage formula in Excel can give you the answer you need in seconds.

Here’s how to calculate percentages in Excel.

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5 minutes

What You Need

  • PC

  • Microsoft Excel

What is the formula to calculate percentage?

There are various formulas you can use to calculate a percentage. Here are two of the most common methods.

Step 1: In this specific example, I’ll be calculating the difference between the profit and revenue. Click the cell you want the percentage to appear within. Now type in =(B2-C2)/B2. The / represents the division function.

Entering a formula to calculate a percentage in Excel.

Step 2: Press the Enter key on your keyboard in order to confirm the formula.

Step 3: In the toolbar, click the percentage icon. In my example, there’s a 65% difference between the profit and revenue. If I change the profit amount to a higher figure, that percentage will decline.

The percentage icon is highlighted in Excel.

Step 4: Another formula you can use to calculate percentage is simply applying the / key in between two cells. For example, to pass a driving theory test, I need to get 80% of the questions correct. To find out the percentage for this specific question, I’ve entered =B2/C2.

Entering a custom formula that calculates percentages in Excel.

What is the easiest way to find percentages?

Now that we’ve explained how to calculate percentages, let’s take a look at the easiest way to find percentages via the drag feature.

Step 1: Click the cell where you’ve entered the formula to calculate a percentage.

Step 2: On the bottom-right corner of that cell, drag it down to where your column ends, or wherever you want percentages to be shown.

In my example, I’ve dragged it down to reveal the difference between the percentage of profit being generated compared to the revenue for each month that’s listed within my spreadsheet.

Using the drag feature in Excel to replicate the percentage formula in other cells.

How do I find 10% of a number in Excel?

Finding a specific percentage of a number within your spreadsheet can be achieved via a straightforward formula.

Step 1: Click the cell you want to find the percentage of a number in.

Step 2: Now enter, for example, =10%50. The asterisk in this formula represents the multiplication function. Press *Enter on your keyboard to confirm the result.

Entering the formula to find a specific percentage of a number in Excel.

Step 3: I’ve applied this same formula on my main Excel profit versus revenue spreadsheet as well. Just replace the number 50 with the cell number where the figure is located.

Entering the formula to find a specific percentage of a cell’s value in Excel.

For more on Excel's other functions, check out our guides on how to use concatenate, and how to use IF in Excel. You can also see what's new in Microsoft Office.

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