# How To Subtract Cells In Excel: A Complete Guide

Excel is one of the most popular spreadsheet programs available today. It is widely used by businesses, individuals, and organizations to manage data, create reports, and perform various calculations. One of the most common tasks in Excel is subtracting cells. In this article, we will show you how to subtract cells in Excel using different methods, tips, and tricks.

## Sample 1: Subtracting Two Cells Using the Minus Sign (-)

One of the most straightforward ways to subtract two cells in Excel is by using the minus sign (-). Here’s how to do it: 1. Select the cell where you want to display the result of the subtraction. 2. Type the equal sign (=) to start the formula. 3. Click on the first cell that you want to subtract. 4. Type the minus sign (-). 5. Click on the second cell that you want to subtract. 6. Press Enter to complete the formula. For example, if you want to subtract cell A1 from cell B1, you would type “=B1-A1” in the cell where you want to display the result.

## Sample 2: Subtracting Cells Using the SUM Function

Another way to subtract cells in Excel is by using the SUM function. Here’s how: 1. Select the cell where you want to display the result of the subtraction. 2. Type the equal sign (=) to start the formula. 3. Type “SUM(” to start the SUM function. 4. Click on the first cell that you want to subtract. 5. Type the minus sign (-). 6. Click on the second cell that you want to subtract. 7. Type “)” to close the SUM function. 8. Press Enter to complete the formula. For example, if you want to subtract cell A1 from cell B1 using the SUM function, you would type “=SUM(B1,-A1)” in the cell where you want to display the result.

## Sample 3: Subtracting Cells Using the MINUS Function

Excel also has a built-in function called MINUS, which you can use to subtract cells. Here’s how: 1. Select the cell where you want to display the result of the subtraction. 2. Type the equal sign (=) to start the formula. 3. Type “MINUS(” to start the MINUS function. 4. Click on the first cell that you want to subtract. 5. Type a comma (,) to separate the arguments. 6. Click on the second cell that you want to subtract. 7. Type “)” to close the MINUS function. 8. Press Enter to complete the formula. For example, if you want to subtract cell A1 from cell B1 using the MINUS function, you would type “=MINUS(B1,A1)” in the cell where you want to display the result.

## Tips for Subtracting Cells in Excel

Here are some tips to help you subtract cells in Excel more efficiently: – Use the AutoSum button to quickly subtract a range of cells. – Use parentheses to specify the order of operations in complex formulas. – Use absolute cell references (e.g., $A$1) to prevent cell references from changing when you copy the formula to other cells. – Use the IF function to subtract cells only if certain conditions are met. – Use the SUMIF function to subtract cells based on specific criteria.

## Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Subtracting Cells in Excel

Q1. Can I subtract cells that contain text or other non-numeric values? A1. No, Excel can only subtract cells that contain numeric values. If you try to subtract cells that contain text or other non-numeric values, you will get an error message. Q2. Can I subtract cells from different worksheets or workbooks? A2. Yes, you can subtract cells from different worksheets or workbooks by specifying the worksheet or workbook name in the cell reference. Q3. Can I subtract cells using negative numbers? A3. Yes, you can subtract cells using negative numbers. Just make sure to include the minus sign (-) before the number. Q4. Can I subtract cells using decimal numbers? A4. Yes, you can subtract cells using decimal numbers. Just make sure to use the correct decimal separator (e.g., period or comma) based on your regional settings. Q5. Can I subtract cells using dates or times? A5. Yes, you can subtract cells using dates or times. Excel stores dates and times as serial numbers, so you can subtract them just like any other numeric values. Q6. Can I subtract cells using formulas that include other functions? A6. Yes, you can subtract cells using formulas that include other functions. Just make sure to follow the correct syntax and order of operations for each function. Q7. Can I subtract cells using conditional formatting? A7. No, conditional formatting is used to visually highlight cells based on certain conditions. It cannot be used to perform calculations or subtract cells.

## Conclusion

Subtracting cells in Excel is a basic but essential skill that every Excel user should know. Whether you prefer to use the minus sign, SUM function, or MINUS function, make sure to follow the correct syntax and order of operations to get accurate results. By using the tips and tricks we’ve provided, you can subtract cells more efficiently and save time and effort.