Multiply by a percentage

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve worked with percentages in Excel. Or if you’re like me, percentages might not be your favorite kind of math. It’s all easier if you let Excel do the work for you.

And if you need to do something such as find the percentage of a total, we can help you with that in the article Calculate percentages.

Multiply an entire column of numbers by a percentage

In this example table, we’ve got just a few numbers to multiply by 15 percent. Even if the column has 100 or 1000 cells of data, Excel can still handle it in a few steps. Here’s how:

Numbers in column A, in cells A1 through A5, 15% in cell B1

  1. Enter the numbers you want to multiply by 15% in an empty column.

  2. In an empty cell enter the percentage, which would be 15%, and then copy that number by pressing Ctrl + C.

  3. Select the range of cells in cells in A1:A5 by dragging down the column.

  4. Right click the selected cells, and then click Paste Special (do not click the arrow next to Paste Special).

    Paste special command, which comes into view after copying a cell, and then selecting a column or row of cells, and then right clickin

  5. Click Values > Multiply. Click OK.

    And here’s the result: all the numbers multiplied by 15%.

    Numbers in column A multiplied by 15%

Tip:  You can also multiply the column to subtract a percentage. To subtract 15%, add a negative sign in front of the percentage, and subtract the percentage from 1, using the formula =1-n%, where n is the percentage. So to subtract 15% use =1-15% as the formula. Finally, follow the same steps as above.

Reduce or increase an amount by a percentage

Perhaps you want to decrease or increase your weekly food expenditures by 25%. To find the amount, use a formula to get a total with a percentage reduced or added.

In our food example, if B2 is the amount that you spend, and C2 is the percentage you want to reduce that amount by, here’s the formula you’d enter in cell D2:

  • =B2*(1-C2)

Percentage results in column D

In the formula, 1 is used to represent 100%. The numbers inside the parentheses are calculated first, so C2 is subtracted from 1, to give us 75%, and the result is multiplied by B2 to get a result of 56.25 for Week 1.

To copy the formula in cell D2 down the column, double-click the small square green box in the lower-right corner of cell D2. You get the results without retyping the formula.

If you wanted to increase the amount by 25%, you’d enter the same formula in cell D2, but change the negative sign to a plus sign. Here’s the formula:

  • =B2*(1+C2)

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