How to Create a Subtraction Formula in Excel (7 Quick Ways)

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Microsoft Excel holds a strong position in the software market as a powerful calculation software. Though there is no exact function to subtract two or more quantities, you can subtract in Excel by using a negative sign (-). Subtraction is a very necessary operation in your daily chores. So, in this article, we’re gonna show you how to create a subtraction formula in Excel. Let’s get started.

How to Create a Subtraction Formula in Excel: 7 Simple Ways

For creating a subtraction formula, we have taken a dataset of Employee’s Salaries and Expenses. Now, we want to subtract from these two columns.


Not to mention, we have used the “Microsoft 365” version. You can use any other version at your convenience.

1. Subtraction Between Two Cells Using Generic Formula

You can just put a negative sign on your keyboard and create the subtraction formula for two cells. Follow the steps.

📌 Steps:

  • First of all, go to cell E5 and write up the formula.

It subtracts the D5 cell value from the C5 value.

Subtraction Between Two Cells by Generic Formula

Read More: Excel formula to find the difference between two numbers

2. Subtraction Formula Between Multiple Cells

Sometimes, you may want to subtract multiple values from one value. For this, you have to add multiple cells using the SUM function. Then subtract as usual. Follow the simple steps.

📌 Steps:

  • Firstly, go to cell C9 and enter the formula.

The SUM(C5:C8) syntax adds to your expenses from C5 to C8 cells and subtracts them from C4.

Subtraction Formula Between Multiple Cells

Read More: How to Subtract Multiple Cells in Excel

3. Subtraction Formula for Text

This time, we want to subtract the first name from the full name. Please take a look at the dataset we have attached below. We have taken the full names of some people, and then we want to extract the first name. We used the TRIM and SUBSTITUTE functions here. Follow the below steps.

📌 Steps:

  • Firstly, move to cell D5 and insert the formula.

Formula Breakdown:

SUBSTITUTE(B5, C5,””)→ Firstly, it takes the value of B5 and then substitutes the value C5 from B5.

TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(B5, C5,””))→ then the TRIM function takes the result of the SUBSTITUTE function and returns the value.

Subtraction Formula for Text 

Eventually, press ENTER and you will get your result like the image below.

Trim and Substitute Functions to create a subtraction formula in Excel

Read More: How to Subtract in Excel Based on Criteria

4. Subtraction Formula for Percentage

You can also subtract two cells that contain percentages. The result is also in percentage. Go through the below steps to do it.

📌 Steps:

  • Firstly, go to cell E5 and write up the formula.

The above formula subtracts the value of D5 from C5 and shows the result in percentage.

Subtraction Formula for Percentage 

Read More: How to Subtract Sum of Several Cells from Fixed Number in Excel

5. Subtraction Formula Between Two Columns

There is also a formula to subtract two columns. Firstly, you need to apply the formula to two cells and then drag it down to other cells. Follow the below steps.

📌 Steps:

  • Initially, go to cell E5 and enter the formula.
  • Secondly, press ENTER and drag it down for other cells.

Subtraction Formula Between Two Columns 

Finally, you will get the result shown in the image below.

Read More: How to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

6. Subtraction for a Specific Value Using Cell Reference

We have also shown the way to subtract one specific value from a cell. It is a very simple and easy task to do. We have added the steps below.

📌 Steps:

  • Firstly, go to cell D5 and input the formula.

Here, the $C$13 sign indicates the cell reference. We subtract the value of C13 from C5:C11 in this formula.

Subtraction for a Specific Value Using Cell Reference 

Read More: How to Subtract from Different Sheets in Excel

7. Subtraction Formula for Dates

You can also subtract the two dates and find the remaining days. To do this, we can use the TODAY function for inserting the present day. Then, subtract the date from your deadlines.

📌 Steps:

  • Firstly, go to cell E5 and enter the formula.

It shows the remaining days counted from your entered date.

Subtraction Formula for Dates 

Read More: Excel VBA: Subtract One Range from Another

Using Shortcut Way to Create a Subtraction Formula in Excel

You can also make a shortcut formula for subtraction in Excel. Here, we have used the SUM function but placed a negative sign () in the column that we want to subtract. So, in this case, a simple formula does your work very easily.

Here, we go to cell E5 first and write the formula.


Basically, the SUM function adds the value of these two cells, but as we enter the negative signs in the D5 cell, so it takes all the values of the D column as negative.

Excel Subtracts the Formula Shortcut

Read More: How to Subtract from a Total in Excel

Practice Section

We have provided a practice section on each sheet on the right side for your practice. Please do it by yourself.

Practice Section

Download Practice Workbook

Download the following practice workbook. It will help you to realize the topic more clearly.


That’s all about today’s session. And these are some easy methods to create a subtraction formula in Excel. Please let us know in the comments section if you have any questions or suggestions. For a better understanding, please download the practice sheet.

Thanks for your patience in reading this article.

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Fahim Shahriyar Dipto
Fahim Shahriyar Dipto

Hello! Welcome to my Excel blog! I am a big fan of MS Excel. I am learning new and exciting things in Excel and writing the process here. I think this will be helpful for you to get used to Excel. Keep visiting our website for new and updated Excel methods.

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