Calculate percentages in Excel 2016 for Windows

Important: The calculated results of formulas and some Excel worksheet functions may differ slightly between a Windows PC using x86 or x86-64 architecture and a Windows RT PC using ARM architecture. Learn more about the differences.

Sometimes percentages can be frustrating because it’s not always easy to remember what we learned about them in school. Let Excel do the work for you – simple formulas can help you find the percentage of a total, for example, or the percentage difference between two numbers.

Find the percentage of a total

Say that your company sold $125,000 this quarter, and you need to find out what percentage $20,000 is of the total. You do this by dividing $20,000 by $125,000.

  1. In columns A and B, enter the data as shown.

    $125,000 in cell A2, $20,000 in cell B2, and 0.16 in cell C3

  2. In cell C2, enter =B2/A2.

    The result is shown as 0.16 because cell C2 is not formatted as a percentage.

  3. On the Home tab, click the Percentage button.

    This formats 0.16 as a percentage and removes the zero that precedes the decimal point.

    Percentage button on the Home tab

    Now we see that $20,000 is 16% of $125,000.

    $125,000 in cell a2, $20,000 in cell b2, and 16% in cell c2

    Tip:  Formatting is the key to getting answers shown in percentages.

Find the percentage of change between two numbers

A company sold $485,000 in 2011 and $598,634 in 2012. What’s the percent change between the two years?

  1. In rows 1 and 2, enter the data as shown, and then select cell B3..

  2. On the Home tab, click the Percentage button.

  3. In cell C3, enter =(B2/A2)-1.

    This divides the second year’s sales ($598,634.00) by the first year ($485,000.00), and then subtracts 1.

    $485,000 in cell A2, $598,634 in cell B2, and 23% in cell B3, the percentage of change between the two numbers

    The percentage of change between the two years is 23%.

    Notice the parentheses around (B2/A2). Excel calculates what’s in parentheses first, and then subtracts the 1.

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