How to Subtract Columns in Excel (6 Easy Methods)

There are no such functions as SUBTRACT in Excel to perform the subtraction operation. But don’t worry. We don’t even need those functions to subtract columns within Excel. Instead of that, we will use the MINUS (-) operator to perform subtraction in between columns. Later, we will perform the subtraction operation for different data formats.

Download the Dataset to Practice

In the dataset, you will find 5 people with their monthly salaries and expenditures. We will try to calculate the monthly savings of each of them using subtraction in between columns.

Intro datasheet is in its raw form.

The next 4 sheets are for methods 1 to 4 respectively.

Sheet 5 (Method 5) is used to demonstrate the subtraction operation between two given times.

Sheet 6 (Method 6) is used to demonstrate the subtraction operation between two given dates.

You can download the Excel dataset and practice the mentioned 6 methods:

How to Subtract Columns in Excel (6 Methods)

1. Subtract Numbers Between Two Columns

To calculate the monthly savings, we need to subtract Gross expenditure from the monthly salary. Now do the following to calculate it:

Step-1: Select cell K4 to put the calculated value.

Step-2: Type

=C4-J4
and then hit ENTER

Thus, you’ve got the Monthly Savings for Smith.

Step-3: Place your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell K4 and a Fill Handle icon will appear.

Step-4: Drag the Fill Handle icon to the end of the column. That’s it.

subtract numbers between two columns in excel

2. Subtract Numbers Among Multiple Columns

Another way of calculating the monthly savings is to subtract the columns Housing, Food, Transport, Health, Clothing, and Utilities from the Salary column.  Now do the following to calculate it:

Step-1: Select cell K4 to put the calculated value.

Step-2: Type

=C4-D4-E4-F4-G4-H4-I4
and then hit ENTER

Thus, you’ve got the Monthly Savings for Smith.

Step-3: Place your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell K4 and a Fill Handle icon will appear.

Step-4: Drag the Fill Handle icon to the end of the column. That’s it.

subtract numbers among multiple columns in excel

3. Subtraction Among Multiple Columns Using the SUM Function

Step-1: Select cell K4 to put the calculated value.

Step-2: Type

=C4-SUM(D4:I4)
and then hit ENTER

Thus, you’ve got the Monthly Savings for Smith. 

Step-3: Place your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell K4 and a Fill Handle icon will appear.

Step-4: Drag the Fill Handle icon to the end of the column. That’s it.

subtraction among multiple columns in excel using sum

4. Subtract a Single Number from a Column of Numbers

In this particular method, we will subtract the cell J4 from the column Salary. Do the following steps:

Step-1: Select cell K4 to put the calculated value.

Step-2: Type

=C4-$J$4
and then hit ENTER.

As cell J4 is fixed, we need the cell to lock up. By placing the Dollar Sign($) before J and 4, we can easily lock up cell J4.

Thus, you’ve got the Monthly Savings for Smith. 

Step-3: Place your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell K4 and a Fill Handle icon will appear.

Step-4: Drag the Fill Handle icon to the end of the column. That’s it.

subtract a single number from a column of numbers in excel

5. Subtract Time Between Two Columns

To calculate the difference between two given times, you need to subtract the Ending Time from the Starting Time. In this case,

Step-1: Select cell F4 to put the calculated value.

Step-2: Type

=E4-D4
and then hit ENTER.

Thus, you’ve calculated the work hour for 1st January 2020.

Step-3: Place your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell K4 and a Fill Handle icon will appear.

Step-4: Drag the Fill Handle icon to the end of the column. That’s it.

subtract time between two columns in excel

6. Subtract Dates Between Two Columns

To calculate the number of days in between specific dates, we need to subtract the Ending Date from the Starting Date. Now go through the following steps: 

Step-1: Select cell E4 to put the calculated value.

Step-2: Type

=D4-C4
and then hit ENTER.

Step-3: Place your cursor to the bottom-right corner of cell K4 and a Fill Handle icon will appear.

Step-4: Drag the Fill Handle icon to the end of the column. That’s it.

subtract dates between two columns in excel

Conclusion

In this article, we have demonstrated six different methods that can be used to subtract columns in Excel. As there’s no default function to perform subtraction among columns in Excel, one can follow these easy-peasy methods as per one’s requirement.

Mrinmoy

Hi! This is Mrinmoy. I write about Excel and VBA stuff for Exceldemy. I have my graduation completed from Khulna University of Engineering & Technology, Bangladesh. I have an immense interest in Datascience and Machine Learning. I like to play guitar and watch Tedtalks in my leisure time. I used to be an indie filmmaker and a wedding photographer. I'm liberal to any kind of constructive criticism and inclined towards expanding my learnings.

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