Excel Tutorial: How To Calculate Percentage With Excel


Understanding how to calculate percentages in Excel is essential for anyone who wants to analyze data and create reports. Whether you are a student, business professional, or data analyst, knowing how to work with percentages in Excel can save time and provide accurate results. In this tutorial, we will cover the basic formulas and functions you need to know to calculate percentages in Excel, as well as some helpful tips to make the process easier.

Key Takeaways

  • Knowing how to calculate percentages in Excel is essential for data analysis and report creation.
  • Basic percentage formulas and Excel's built-in percentage function are important tools to master.
  • Formatting cells correctly and understanding percentage change are crucial for accurate calculations.
  • Applying percentage calculations to real-world scenarios, such as tracking sales growth and calculating discounts, is a valuable skill.
  • Practice and exploration of additional Excel functions is encouraged to further enhance proficiency.

Understanding basic percentage formulas

When working with Excel, it is important to understand how to calculate percentages in order to analyze data and make informed decisions. The basic percentage formula involves dividing the part by the whole and multiplying by 100.

A. Explanation of the basic percentage formula

The basic percentage formula can be expressed as: (part/whole) * 100. This formula allows you to find the percentage of a specific value in relation to the total amount.

B. Example of how to calculate percentage using the formula

For example, if you want to calculate the percentage of sales made by a specific product out of the total sales, you would use the formula: (product sales/total sales) * 100. This will give you the percentage of total sales attributed to that specific product.

Excel Tutorial: How to Calculate Percentage with Excel

Calculating percentage in Excel is a common task for many professionals, whether for financial analysis, data visualization, or project management. Excel offers a built-in percentage function that makes it easy to calculate percentages with precision. In this tutorial, we will guide you through using Excel's percentage function and provide an example to demonstrate its practical application.

Introduction to the percentage function in Excel

Excel's percentage function allows users to quickly and accurately calculate percentages. This function is especially useful when working with large sets of data or when performing complex calculations that involve percentages.

Step-by-step guide on how to use the function

Using Excel's percentage function is straightforward. Here's a step-by-step guide to using the function:

  • Open a new or existing Excel spreadsheet and select the cell where you want the percentage calculation to appear.
  • Enter the formula '=number1/number2', replacing number1 and number2 with the appropriate values or cell references.
  • Press Enter to see the calculated percentage.

Example of using the percentage function in a practical scenario

Let's say you have a sales report with the total sales for the year and you want to calculate the percentage increase in sales from the previous year. You can use Excel's percentage function to quickly determine the percentage increase and visualize the sales growth.

By following the step-by-step guide outlined earlier, you can easily calculate the percentage increase in sales and present the data in a clear and meaningful way.

Formatting cells for percentage calculations

When working with percentages in Excel, it's important to ensure that your cells are formatted correctly to display the data accurately. Here's how you can format cells for percentage calculations:

  • How to format cells to display percentages
  • To format a cell to display percentages, simply select the cell or range of cells you want to format, right-click, and choose "Format Cells." In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the Number tab and select "Percentage" from the category list. Click OK, and your cells will now display percentages.

  • Customizing the number of decimal places for percentages
  • If you want to customize the number of decimal places displayed for your percentages, you can do so by selecting the cell or range of cells, right-clicking, and choosing "Format Cells." In the Format Cells dialog box, navigate to the Number tab, select "Percentage" from the category list, and then use the "Decimal places" options to specify the desired number of decimal places. Click OK to apply the changes.

  • Tips for avoiding common formatting errors
  • When working with percentages in Excel, it's important to watch out for common formatting errors that can affect your calculations. One common mistake is to enter percentages as whole numbers (e.g., 50% as 50) without formatting the cells as percentages. This can lead to incorrect calculations. Always make sure to format your cells correctly to avoid such errors.

Calculating percentage change

When working with data in Excel, it is often useful to calculate the percentage change between two values. This can be particularly helpful when analyzing financial data, tracking sales performance, or comparing changes in data over time. Understanding how to calculate percentage change in Excel is a valuable skill that can assist in making informed decisions and drawing meaningful conclusions from your data.

Explanation of the percentage change formula

The formula for calculating percentage change is relatively straightforward. It is often expressed as:

Percentage Change = ((New Value - Old Value) / Old Value) x 100

This formula essentially measures the difference between a new value and an old value, relative to the old value, and then expresses that difference as a percentage.

Example of calculating percentage change in Excel

Let's say we have a dataset that includes the sales figures for a product over the past two years. We want to calculate the percentage change in sales from year 1 to year 2.

  • First, we would subtract the old value (Year 1 sales) from the new value (Year 2 sales).
  • Next, we would divide that difference by the old value (Year 1 sales).
  • Finally, we would multiply the result by 100 to express the change as a percentage.

By using the formula mentioned above, we can easily calculate the percentage change in Excel and gain valuable insights into the performance of the product over time.

Applying percentage calculations to real-world scenarios

Percentage calculations are an essential part of everyday business operations. Whether you are tracking sales growth or calculating discounts and markups, understanding how to use percentages in Excel can greatly improve your efficiency and accuracy.

Let’s take a closer look at two common real-world scenarios where percentage calculations come into play:

A. Using percentages to track sales growth

  • Sales Growth Percentage: Calculating the percentage increase or decrease in sales over a specific period can provide valuable insights into the performance of your business. This can help you identify trends, set targets, and make informed decisions.
  • Year-over-Year Comparison: By comparing sales figures from one year to the next, you can calculate the percentage change and determine the overall growth rate. This information is crucial for assessing your company's performance and making strategic plans for the future.

B. Calculating discounts and markups using percentages

  • Discount Percentage: When offering discounts on your products or services, it’s important to accurately calculate the percentage amount to ensure that the pricing is competitive and appealing to customers.
  • Markup Percentage: Understanding how to calculate the markup percentage allows you to set appropriate selling prices that cover your costs and generate a profit. This is crucial for pricing products effectively and maximizing revenue.

By mastering percentage calculations in Excel, you can streamline these processes and make more informed business decisions. Whether you are analyzing sales data or determining pricing strategies, the ability to work with percentages is an invaluable skill for any professional.


Recap: In this tutorial, we covered the step-by-step process of calculating percentages in Excel using simple formulas and functions. We discussed the importance of understanding the basic mathematical principles behind percentage calculations and demonstrated how to apply them in Excel.

Encouragement: As you continue to refine your Excel skills, I encourage you to practice and explore additional functions and features. Excel offers a wide range of powerful tools for data analysis and calculation, and the more you familiarize yourself with them, the more efficient and effective you will become in using this versatile software.

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