Introduction
When working with data in Excel, understanding how to calculate percent change is essential for analyzing trends and making informed decisions. Percent change is a crucial metric for measuring the difference in values over time or across different categories. Whether you're tracking sales performance, investment returns, or any other form of data, knowing how to calculate percent change in Excel can provide valuable insights.
Key Takeaways
 Understanding how to calculate percent change in Excel is essential for data analysis and making informed decisions.
 Percent change measures the difference in values over time or across different categories, providing valuable insights into trends.
 Input the initial and final values in separate cells, then use the formula ((final value  initial value) / initial value) * 100 to calculate percent change.
 Format the result as a percentage and adjust decimal places as necessary for clear presentation of the data.
 Utilize builtin functions like =PERCENTAGECHANGE and apply the percent change formula to multiple cells in a data set for efficient analysis.
Understanding the data
Before calculating percent change in Excel, it's important to understand the data you are working with. This involves inputting the initial and final values in separate cells.
A. Inputting the initial value in a cellTo calculate percent change, start by inputting the initial value in a specific cell in your Excel spreadsheet. This could be the starting point of a sales figure, stock price, or any other variable you want to measure the change in.
B. Inputting the final value in another cellAfter inputting the initial value, proceed to input the final value in a different cell. This represents the end point of the data you want to analyze. Whether it's the ending sales figure, stock price, or any other variable, this final value is essential for calculating the percent change.
Calculating the percent change
When working with data in Excel, calculating the percent change is a common task. Whether you're analyzing financial data, sales figures, or any other type of numerical data, knowing how to calculate the percent change can provide valuable insights.
A. Using the formula: ((final value  initial value) / initial value) * 100
The formula for calculating percent change is straightforward. To get started, subtract the initial value from the final value to find the difference. Then, divide the difference by the initial value and multiply by 100 to get the percentage change.
Mathematically, the formula looks like this:
((Final Value  Initial Value) / Initial Value) * 100
This formula will give you the percent change between two values, expressed as a percentage.
B. Applying the formula to a specific cell in Excel
Excel makes it easy to apply the percent change formula to a specific cell or range of cells. Here's how you can do it:
 First, select the cell where you want the percent change to appear.
 Next, enter the formula using cell references for the initial and final values. For example, if the initial value is in cell A1 and the final value is in cell B1, the formula would be: =((B1  A1) / A1) * 100
 Press Enter to apply the formula and calculate the percent change.
Once you've applied the formula to a specific cell in Excel, you can easily copy and paste it to other cells to calculate the percent change for different sets of data.
Formatting the result
When calculating percent change in Excel, it's important to present the result in a clear and readable format. Here are a few steps to help you format the result effectively.
A. Choosing the percentage format for the cellOnce you have calculated the percent change using a formula, you'll want to ensure that the result is displayed as a percentage. To do this, select the cell containing the percent change calculation and navigate to the "Number Format" dropdown in the Excel toolbar. From the list of options, choose "Percentage" to display the result as a percentage.
B. Adjusting decimal places if necessaryIn some cases, you may need to adjust the number of decimal places displayed for the percent change. If the default setting does not match your preference, you can easily adjust this by selecting the cell, rightclicking, and choosing "Format Cells." In the popup window, go to the "Number" tab and select "Percentage." From there, you can specify the number of decimal places you want to display for the result.
Using builtin functions
When it comes to calculating percent change in Excel, there are several builtin functions that can make the process much easier. One of the most commonly used functions for this purpose is the =PERCENTAGECHANGE function. Let's take a closer look at how to use this function and understand its different arguments.
A. Using the =PERCENTAGECHANGE function in Excel
The =PERCENTAGECHANGE function in Excel allows you to calculate the percentage change between two values. The syntax for using this function is relatively simple:
 Start by typing =PERCENTAGECHANGE( into the cell where you want the result to appear.
 Next, select the cell containing the initial value, type a comma, and then select the cell containing the new value.
 Close the parentheses and press Enter to calculate the percentage change.
B. Understanding the different arguments of the function
It's important to understand the different arguments of the =PERCENTAGECHANGE function in order to use it effectively. The function takes two arguments:
 Old_value: This is the initial value from which you want to calculate the percentage change.
 New_value: This is the new value to which you want to compare the initial value.
By understanding how to input these arguments correctly, you can ensure that the function calculates the percentage change accurately.
Applying percent change to a data set
Calculating percent change in Excel is a common task for many professionals in fields such as finance, marketing, and data analysis. Understanding how to use Excel formulas to calculate percent change can be extremely valuable for making datadriven decisions. In this tutorial, we will cover two key methods for applying percent change to a data set.
Using absolute cell references for formulas
When calculating percent change in Excel, it's important to use absolute cell references in your formulas to ensure accurate calculations. Absolute cell references are denoted by the use of the dollar sign ($) before the column and row references in a cell address. This tells Excel to always refer to the specific cell, regardless of where the formula is copied or dragged.
 Step 1: Identify the cells containing the initial value and the final value for the data set.

Step 2: In a new cell, use the formula
=((final value  initial value) / initial value) * 100
to calculate the percent change.  Step 3: When entering cell references in the formula, make sure to use absolute cell references for the initial and final values to ensure accuracy.
 Step 4: Apply the formula to the entire data set by dragging the fill handle down or across the cells.
Dragging the formula to apply to multiple cells in a data set
Once you have calculated the percent change for a single data point, you can easily apply the formula to multiple cells in a data set by dragging the fill handle. The fill handle is a small square located in the bottomright corner of the active cell. When you click and drag the fill handle, the formula will be applied to the adjacent cells in the desired direction.
 Step 1: After entering the percent change formula in the initial cell, click on the fill handle to select it.
 Step 2: Drag the fill handle down or across the cells where you want to apply the formula.
 Step 3: Release the mouse button to populate the selected cells with the percent change formula.
 Step 4: Doublecheck the results in the populated cells to ensure the formula was applied correctly to the entire data set.
Conclusion
Calculating percent change in Excel is a crucial skill for anyone working with data analysis or financial calculations. It provides valuable insights into trends, growth, or decline over time, allowing for informed decisionmaking. With the stepbystep guide provided in this tutorial, mastering the process is well within reach for anyone.
So, roll up your sleeves and practice calculating percent change in Excel with different sets of data to sharpen your skills. The more you practice, the more confident and efficient you will become at using this powerful tool!
ONLY $99
ULTIMATE EXCEL DASHBOARDS BUNDLE
Immediate Download
MAC & PC Compatible
Free Email Support