Finding differences is a basic and simple task in any mathematical calculation. In Excel, we can do it in very quick and smart ways. It will save time and will show the positive or negative sign after subtracting. So today in this article, I am gonna show **3 useful methods** to **calculate **the** difference between two numbers** positive or negative in Excel.

**Download Practice Workbook**

You can download the free Excel template from here and practice on your own.

**3 Ways to Calculate Positive or Negative Difference Between Two Numbers in Excel**

To explore the methods, weâ€™ll use the following dataset that represents the growth of **Facebook**, **Youtube**, **Twitter**, and **Netflix **for two consecutive months. Weâ€™ll calculate the difference between them using the methods described below.

**1. Manually Calculate Positive or Negative Difference Between Two Numbers**

First, weâ€™ll learn the most basic way to calculate the positive or negative difference between two numbers in Excel. Just type the numbers directly in a cell and subtract.

**Steps:**

- In
**Cell E5**,**type**the following**formula**â€“

`=1.1%-(-6.11%)`

- Then just
**hit**the**Enter**button to get the output.

As our values are in **percentage formats** and we are directly giving input to the values so weâ€™ll have to keep the** percentage** with the numbers before **subtracting**.

- Later,
**follow**the**same procedure**for the other cells.

*The problem with this method is- if you change any values then they will not be synced in the formula automatically, you will have to change them in the formula manually. So this method is not feasible always. It can be useful just in some particular cases.*

**2. Use Cell Reference to Find Positive or Negative Differences Between Two Numbers **

Now weâ€™ll calculate the difference by using cell reference instead of using values directly. The benefit of using cell reference is that if you change any number then the formula will be changed automatically according to the values.

**Steps:**

**Write**the following**formula**in**Cell E5**â€“

`=C5-D5`

- Later,
**press**the**Enter**button to get the result.

- Finally,
**drag down**the**Fill Handle icon**to copy the formula for the rest of the cells.

Then soon after you will get the differences like the image below.

**3. Apply Excel SUM Function to Calculate Positive or Negative Difference Between Two Numbers**

Here, weâ€™ll use a function to get the differences. **The SUM function** can be used here for the task because the **SUM **function can give negative output also.

**Steps:**

- In
**Cell E5**,**Write**the following**formula**â€“

`=SUM(C5-D5)`

**Press**the**Enter button**to get the result.

- Finally, use the
**FIll Handle tool**to copy the formula for the other differences.

Hereâ€™s the output after using the **SUM **function.

**Practice Section**

You will get a practice sheet in the Excel file given above to practice the explained ways.

**Conclusion**

I hope the procedures described above will be good enough to calculate the **difference between** **two numbers positive or negative** in Excel. Feel free to ask any question in the comment section and please give me feedback.