Theoretically and even practically, you cannot find the percentage change for negative numbers. If not possible, then how can we calculate percentage change with negative numbers in Excel? You can certainly use different formulas, however, they appear to produce inaccurate or misleading results most of the time. Here I will show 2 methods to calculate the percentage change with negative numbers in Excel.

**Table of Contents**Expand

## How to Calculate Percentage Change with Negative Numbers in Excel: 2 Methods

The formula for percentage change between any two numbers is like below.

Letâ€™s assume a scenario where we have an Excel file that contains information about the income or earnings of 5 different companies in 2 consecutive years. We will use the incomes of these companies to calculate percentages with negative numbers in Excel. The image below shows the worksheet that we are going to work with.

### 1. Calculate Percentage Change in Excel When Old Value is Positive and New Value is Negative

If the old value is positive while the new one is negative, we can use the below formula to calculate the percentage change.

**Steps:**

**â¦¿** First, we will write down the below formula in cell **F5**.

`=(D5-C5)/(C5)`

**Formula Breakdown:**

Here,

**D5** = Income(This Year) =** New Value**

**C5** = Income (Previous Year) = **Old Value**

**â¦¿ **Upon pressing **ENTER**, we will get the percentage change between negative *Income (Previous Year)* and positive *Income (Previous Year)*.

**â¦¿ **Now, we will drag the** Fill Handle** to apply the formula to the rest of the cells.

**â¦¿ **Finally, we will see all the percentage changes between the negative valued *Income (Previous Year)* and positive valued *Income (Previous Year)*.

**Read More: **Percentage Difference Between Two Percentages in Excel

**2. ****Calculate the Percentage Change in Excel by Making the Denominator Absolute**

The above formula will not work when the old value is negative and the new one is positive or both of them are negatives. Because if the old value is negative while the new one is positive, then the formula will always produce a negative value that indicates a negative percentage change. In this example, loss for the company while in reality, the company makes a profit and hence the percentage change should be positive. The same situation will arise when both of the numbers are negative. In such cases, we will have to make the denominator absolute.

**Steps:**

**â¦¿** First, we will write down the below formula in cell **F5**.

`=(D5-C5)/ABS(C5)`

**Formula Breakdown:**

Here,

**D5** = Income(This Year) =** New Value**

**C5** = Income (Previous Year) = **Old Value**

**The ABS function**Â in Excel will make the denominator value absolute.

**â¦¿ **Upon pressing **ENTER**, we will get the percentage change between negative* Income (Previous Year)* and positive* Income (Previous Year)*.

**â¦¿ **Now, we will drag the** Fill Handle**Â to apply the formula to the rest of the cells.

**â¦¿ **Finally, we will see all the percentage changes between the negative valued *Income (Previous Year)* and positive valued *Income (Previous Year)*.

**But, there is a catch!!!**

Look carefully at the percentage changes in income for companies** B** and**Â E**. Both the percentage changes are positive, but the change in the income of**Â E** is much lower than that of**Â B**. In reality, **E** has earned more profit than**Â B**.

**Read More: **How to Calculate Percentage Increase Between Three Numbers in Excel

We will now see two runarounds that although can not solve the problem completely. But they are able to mitigate it to a great extent.

**Alternative Method 1: ****No Result for the Negative Numbers in Excel**

In the first method, we will look for the negative numbers in both the old and new values. If we find a negative value, we will then show a text to tell the viewer that a percentage change is not possible.

**Steps:**

**â¦¿** First, we will write down the below formula in cell **E5**.

`=IF(MIN(C5,D5)<=0,"Can Not Be Calculated",(D5/C5)-1)`

**Formula Breakdown:**

**The IF function** will perform a logical test (**MIN(C5,D5)<=0**). If the logical test returns *TRUE*, the function will return the string *Can Not Be Calculated*. And if the logical test returns *FALSE*, then the function will return the percentage of change between the two values ( **(D5/C5)-1**).

**â¦¿ **Upon pressing **ENTER**, the formula will return the string *Can Not Be Calculated*Â as the new value (**D5**) or *Income (This Year) *is negative.

**â¦¿ **ThenÂ we will drag the** Fill Handle** to apply the formula to the rest of the cells.

**â¦¿ **Finally, we will see the values that the formula will return based on the logical test.

**Read More: **How to Calculate Year over Year Percentage Change in Excel

**Alternative Method 2: ****Display Positive or Negative Percentage Changes in Excel**

Another way is to show a *P* or *L*Â if there is a negative number and the company makes a profit or incurs a loss.

**Steps:**

**â¦¿** First, we will write down the below formula in cell **F5**.

`=IF(MIN(C5,D5)<=0,IF((D5-C5)>0,"P","N"),(D5/C5)-1)`

**Formula Breakdown:**

- First
**IF**function will perform a logical test (**MIN(C5,D5)<=0**) to determine if there is a negative number in old and new values. If there is a negative number (*TRUE*), then it will perform the second**IFÂ**function. - The second
**IF**test performs another logical test (**(D5-C5)>0**) to determine if the new value is greater than the old value. If the new value is greater than the old value (*TRUE*), then the second**IF**function will return the string*P*Â (Indicates a*positive change*). And if the new value is smaller than the old value (*FALSE*), then it will return the string*N*Â (Indicates a*negative change*). - If the logical test in the first
**IF**function returns*FALSE*, then the function will return the percentage of change between the two positive values (**(D5/C5)-1**).

**â¦¿ **Upon pressing **ENTER**, the formula will return the string *N*Â as the new value (**D5**) or *Income (This Year)* is smaller than the old value (**C5**) or *Income (Previous Year)*. The *N*Â indicates that there is a negative change or decline in income.

**â¦¿ **ThenÂ we will drag the** Fill Handle**Â to apply the formula to the rest of the cells.

**â¦¿ **Finally, we will see the values that the formula will return based on the logical test.

**Read More: **Calculate Percentage Difference Between Two Numbers in Excel

**Quick Notes**

ðŸŽ¯Â You can also calculate the difference between two numbers.

ðŸŽ¯Â Or if you are interested you can calculate average percentage change in Excel.

ðŸŽ¯ And you can use this** Free Template and Calculator **to calculate the average percentage in Excel.

**Download Practice Workbook**

Download this practice book to exercise the task while you are reading this article.

**Conclusion**

In this article, we have learned how to calculate percentage change with negative numbers in Excel. I hope from now on you can calculate percentage change with negative numbers in Excel very easily. However, if you have any queries or recommendations about this article, please leave a comment below. Have a great day!!!

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