Calculate Positive or Negative Difference Between Two Numbers in Excel

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, we’ll use the following dataset that represents the growth of Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Netflix for two consecutive months. We’ll calculate the difference between them using the methods described below.


1. Manually Calculate Positive or Negative Difference Between Two Numbers

First, we’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
=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 we’ll have to keep the percentage with the numbers before subtracting.

Manually Calculate Positive or Negative Difference Between Two Numbers

  • 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 we’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
=C5-D5
  • Later, press the Enter button to get the result.

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

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

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

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, we’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
=SUM(C5-D5)
  • Press the Enter button to get the result.

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

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

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

Here’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.

Mithun

Mithun

Hello! I am Md. Sourov Hossain Mithun. Welcome to my profile. Currently, I am working at Exceldemy as an Excel and VBA Content Developer. Excel is amazing software. Here I will post excel related useful articles. I am a graduate of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. I love to learn new things and work with them. Thank you.

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