**Subtraction** is the process of finding the difference between two numbers or integers. If we go back to our old school memory, we used to put a minus sign between two numbers. In **Microsoft Excel**, it’s no different. You can subtract numbers, percentages, days, minutes, texts, etc. Now let’s take a look at how you can subtract two columns in excel.

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## Download Practice Workbook

Download this practice workbook to exercise while you are reading this article.

## 5 Suitable Methods to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

In this tutorial, I am going to share with you 5 simple methods to subtract two columns in Excel.

### 1. Apply Subtraction Between Two Columns in Excel

Like in old school days, we used to put a minus sign between two numbers. In this method, I will show you** how you can subtract** between two columns just by putting a minus sign. Suppose we have a dataset of some products, their purchased price, and selling price. Now we are going to calculate the profit for each product **using subtraction**.

**Steps:**

- Select a
**cell**(**E5**) to calculate. - Put the formula in the cell-

`=D5-C5`

- Press
**Enter**. - Subtraction output for the selected two cells will be shown.

- Drag down to get the desired result.

Here you can see we got our profit for each product using a minus sign between two cells.

**Read More: ****Excel VBA: Subtract One Range from Another (3 Handy Cases)**

### 2. Utilize Paste Special Feature to Subtract Two columns in Excel

Utilizing paste special tool you can **subtract two columns** in excel. Suppose we have a dataset of some products and their sales for two months.

Now we are going to subtract a value from these two columns.

**Step 1:**

- Select the value in
**cell**(**C14**) to subtract from two columns. - Press
**Ctrl+C**to copy.

**Step 2:**

- Choose two
**columns**from the dataset and click the**right button**on the mouse.

- A new window will appear with
**options**. - From the options select “
**Paste****Special**”.

- From the “
**Paste****Special**” window choose “**Subtract**”. - Click
**OK**.

- You will find new values in the two columns subtracted by the value in
**cell**(**C14**).

**Read More: ****Subtraction for Whole Column in Excel (with 5 Examples)**

### 3. Subtract Two Columns with Dates in Excel

Sometimes we might need to calculate days from two dates. In this method, I am going to show you how you can calculate days from two dates with simple subtraction formula.

Here I have two columns of Dates. Now I will calculate the total days between these dates.

**Steps:**

- Choose a
**cell**. Here I have chosen**cell**(**D5**). - Apply the formula-

`=C5-B5`

- Press
**Enter**. - You will find the days between those two dates.
- Drag down the “
**Fill****handle**”.

- Thus you will get the total days between the dates in two columns.

### 4. Subtract Two Columns with Text

Applying the **TRIM**, **SUBSTITUTE**, **REPLACE**, and **SEARCH functions** you can subtract text from two columns. In this method, I will show you case-sensitive and case-insensitive cases to subtract text from two columns.

#### 4.1 Case-Sensitive Condition

Here we have a dataset of some product codes. Now we are going to separate the codes from this column.

**Steps:**

- Select a
**cell**(**D5**). - Apply the formula-

`=TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(B5,C5,""))`

Where,

- The
**TRIM function**removes extra spaces from a text string. - The
**SUBSTITUTE function**replaces a string with another string.

- Press
**Enter**. - You will get the product name in the result cell.
- Now drag down the “
**Fill****handle**”.

- Here we got our desired result in a new column with only the product names.

#### 4.2 Case-Insensitive Condition

In case-insensitive cases, we will use the **TRIM**, **REPLACE **and **SEARCH **functions to subtract text.

**Steps:**

- Choose a
**cell**and apply the formula-

`=TRIM(REPLACE(B5,SEARCH(C5,B5),LEN(C5),""))`

Where,

- The
**REPLACE function**will replace a part from the text string. - The
**SEARCH function**will look for a part in the given string.

- Press
**Enter**. - Drag down the “
**Fill****handle**”.

- Thus we will get our desired text from the string.

### 5. Create Pivot Table to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

While working in excel often we need to subtract data in a pivot table. In this method, I am explaining a quick way to subtract two columns in a pivot table.

Let’s create a pivot table first. Suppose we have a dataset of some teams and their sales and collection report. We will create a pivot table from the list and then subtract between the columns in the pivot table.

**Step 1:**

- Select the whole
**dataset**. - Choose “
**Pivot Table**” from the “**Insert**” option.

- In the “
**PivotTable from table or range**” select “**Existing Worksheet**” and then the location in the same worksheet. - Press
**OK**.

**Step 2:**

- Choose all three options from the “
**PivotTable Fields**”.

- Here we got our
**pivot table.**Now we will subtract between these two columns.

**Step 3:**

- From the “
**PivotTable Analyze**” option go to “**Field, Items, & Sets**” and select “**Calculated Field**”.

- A new window will appear named “
**Insert Calculated Field**”. - In the “
**Name**” section type “**Remaining****Collection**” and in the “**Formula**” section apply the subtraction formula between the fields “**Sales**” and**Collection**”. - Press
**OK**.

- This way you will get the result in a new column of a pivot table.

## Use Absolute Reference to Subtract a Number from Two Columns in Excel

An **absolute reference **is used to refer to a fixed location in a cell. Using absolute reference you can subtract a number from two columns in excel.

Here we have a dataset. Now we are going to subtract the number **10 **from both of the columns by applying the subtraction formula.

**Steps:**

- Choose a
**cell**. Here I have selected**cell**(**F5**). - Apply the formula-

`=C5-$C$14`

Where,

- We used the
**dollar sign($)**to lock the cell which works like an absolute reference.

- Click
**Enter**. - Thus we got our result for the cell.
- Drag down the “
**Fill****handle**” to the left side to get the output in both columns.

- Now, pull the “
**fill handle**” down selecting both columns.

Thus we can get our subtracted data for both columns.

## Apply Matrix Subtraction in Excel

In many cases, we may need to apply matrix subtraction in excel. In this method, I will show you a simple way of doing matrix subtraction. Here we have a dataset of two matrix. Now we will subtract between this matrix.

**Steps:**

- Select rows and columns like the matrix rows and columns to get the output.
- Apply the formula in the cells-

`{=(B5:D7)-(F5:H7)}`

- Press
**Enter**. - Thus we can get our output with a simple
**subtraction formula between the cells**.

## Things To Remember

- Before Applying formulas in a cell don’t forget to check the cell is in general format. If not then- select the cell and click the mouse’s right button to open options. From
**Options > Format Cells > General**.

## Conclusion

I have tried to cover all the methods of subtracting two columns in excel. Hope you find it useful. Feel free to comment in the comment section. Thanks!