# How to Subtract Two Columns in Excel (5 Easy Methods)

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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.

## 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: How to Apply Subtraction Formula in Excel (8 Easy Ways)

### 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). ### 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!

## Related Articles #### Wasim Akram

Hi! my name is Wasim Akram. I am a graduate in mechanical engineering from Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology. I am passionate about learning new things and writing articles. I write article about Microsoft Excel and it's my favourite thing to do.

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