Excel Add and Subtract (Complete Guideline)

In this article, you will learn about Excel functions and features to add and subtract.

Addition and subtraction are fundamental mathematical operations that serve various purposes. They have extensive use cases in finance, data analysis, budgeting, project management, scientific research, and many other fields.

Addition and subtraction features enable individuals and organizations to make accurate calculations, informed decisions, and efficient resource management.

Excel offers various formatting options, functions, and features to enhance the accuracy and precision of addition and subtraction operations. We are going to discuss them in this tutorial.

Excel add and subtract

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How to Add in Excel

1. Add Numbers in Excel

Method 1: Add Numbers with Operator

You can just connect a series of numbers directly with the addition operator (+).


Add numbers with operator

Or, you can also use relevant cell references to add numbers using an operator.


Add numbers using cell reference

Method 2: Add Numbers Using SUM Function

To add numbers using the SUM function in a range, apply the following formula:


Add numbers using SUM Function

2. Get a Quick Total in Excel

To get the sum of a range with just one click, select the range and navigate to the bottom of the Excel window. Excel properties will show the sum of the selected range.

Get a quick total in Excel

3. Using AutoSum Feature

AutoSum feature inserts the sum function and returns the sum of a range.

Just select the cell under the range > go to the Home tab > click the AutoSum feature under the Editing group.

This command will insert the sum function for the range.

Add total using AutoSum feature

4. Add Time in Excel

If you want to add a time format, just use the cell reference and connect them with the Addition operator (+).


Add time in Excel

5. Add Days to Date in Excel

You can add days to date using 3 different approaches:

Add days to date in Excel

6. Add Percentage in Excel

To add the percentage of a number to that number, apply the following formula:


Don’t forget to use the absolute cell reference if the percentage value is in a separate cell.

Add percentage in Excel

How to Subtract in Excel

1. Subtract Columns in Excel

If you want to subtract two specific columns, then subtract the first cells from the relevant columns first.


Then drag the Fill Handle tool down to copy the formula un till the last pair of cells for the columns.

Subtract columns in Excel

2. Subtract Same Cell from a Column

To subtract the same cell from a similar column, lock the cell to subtract in the formula by pressing the F4 key and then applying the subtraction operator.


Subtract same cell from a column

3. Subtract Multiple Cells from Same Cell

If you want to subtract multiple cells from the same cell, put that cell in the first position in the formula and then keep using the subtraction operator consecutively to connect the cells to subtract.


Subtract multiple cells from same cell

4. Subtract Time in Excel

Whether your time format is 24 hours or 12 hours, just subtract them with the subtraction operator just like you subtract numbers.


Subtract time in Excel

5. Subtract Dates in Excel

To subtract dates in Excel, you can follow 3 ways:

Notice the image below for your reference.

Subtract date in Excel

6. Subtract Percentage in Excel

To subtract the percentage of a number from that number, you can apply the formula below.


Subtract percentage in Excel

7. Subtract Matrix in Excel

When you have two matrices (two sets of values) and you want to delete similar elements among the matrices, then apply the following formula:


Matrix subtraction

This is an array formula. So don’t forget to press the CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER key and you will see curly brackets which indicate the array formula.

8. Subtract Portion of Cell Value

8.1. Case-Sensitive

To subtract text from a cell value, you can use a combination of TRIM and SUBSTITUTE functions.


 💡 Formula Breakdown

SUBSTITUTE(B5, C5, “”) replaces the occurrences of the text in cell C5 with an empty string (“”) and returns => Dell

TRIM function removes any excess spaces from the result of the SUBSTITUTE function.

TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(B5,C5,””)) = Dell 

Subtract portion of cell value (case sensitive)

However, this formula is case-sensitive.

8.2. Case-Insensitive

If you want a case-insensitive formula to perform the same task, apply a combination of TRIM, REPLACE, SEARCH, and LEN functions.


 💡 Formula Breakdown

The SEARCH function is used to find the position of the text in C5 within the text in B5.
SEARCH(C5,B5) => 6

LEN(C5) returns the length of the text in C5, which represents the number of characters to be replaced=> 6


Subtract portion of cell value (case insensitive)

9. Subtract Two Lists in Excel

Let’s say you have two lists whereas one list is smaller and you want to subtract the smaller list from the larger list. In that case, you can use a combination of IF and COUNTIF functions.

=IF(COUNTIF($C:$C, $B5)=0, "Not Matched", "")

 💡 Formula Breakdown

The COUNTIF($C:$C, $B5) is used to count the number of cells within the range $C:$C (column C) that match the value in cell $B5.

=0: This part of the formula checks if the count from the COUNTIF function is equal to zero. If the count is zero, it means that there are no matching cells found in column C.

IF(COUNTIF($C:$C, $B5)=0, “Not Matched”, “”): The IF function evaluates the condition (COUNTIF($C:$C, $B5)=0) and returns one of two results based on the condition

Subtracting two lists

How to Add and Subtract in One Formula in Excel

1. Add and Subtract Multiple Cells from One Cell

Let’s say, you want to add a range of multiple cells and then subtract the summation from a single cell. So, in that case, you have to perform addition and subtraction in a single formula.


Add and subtract multiple cells from one cell

2. Add and Subtract in Multiple Columns

Let’s say, you have two ranges of values. First, you want to add the values distinctively and then subtract the summation of those values. So, apply the following formula to perform this task.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I add or subtract numbers in Excel while ignoring errors?

Ans: You can use the IFERROR function to ignore errors.

2. Can I add or subtract numbers in Excel with decimal precision?

Ans: Yes, you can definitely add or subtract numbers in Excel with decimal precision.

Takeaways from the Article

  • The addition operator (+) is used to combine values and find their sum, while the subtraction operator () is used to find the difference between values.
  • Formulas like “=SUM()” and “=A1-B1” enable you to add and subtract numbers in Excel.
  • You can perform addition and subtraction on multiple cells at once using the SUM function.


So now we know about the features and functions of Excel to add and subtract. Whether you’re managing finances, analyzing data, or planning projects, the ability to accurately add and subtract numbers is essential.

By understanding the importance of addition and subtraction, users can gain the ability to efficiently manipulate numerical data. It will also empower a user to become a proficient user capable of performing complex calculations

Excel Add and Subtract: Knowledge Hub

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Rafiul Hasan
Rafiul Hasan

Rafiul Hasan, holding a BSc in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology, contributes significantly to the ExcelDemy project with almost 1.6 years of dedicated work. Currently an Excel and VBA Content Developer, he has a passion for problem-solving. Authoring over 100 articles for ExcelDemy showcases expertise in Microsoft Office Suites and Data Analysis. In addition to content development, Rafiul actively engages with the ExcelDemy forum, offering valuable solutions to user queries and... Read Full Bio

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