How to Calculate Percentages in Excel

Percentages in Excel Index:

Displaying Percentages in Excel Cells
Two Percentage Calculation Types
How to Calculate a Percentage as a Proportion
How to Calculate Percentage Change

Displaying Percentages in Excel Cells

Percentages in Excel are stored as decimal values. For example, 25% is stored as the value 0.25, 50% is stored as the value 0.5, etc.

It is only the formatting of a cell that makes the underlying decimal value appear as a percentage.

To change a cell's formatting to display percentages:

  • select the cell(s) to be formatted
  • right click, and from this menu, select the Format Cells ... option
  • make sure the Number tab is selected and from within the options in this tab, select Percentage
  • An option will appear in the Format Cells box, that allows you to select how many decimal places you want to display
  • Click OK
Excel Format Cells Percentage Option

Two Percentage Calculation Types

When calculating percentages in Excel, there are two types that are typically used. These are:

Percentage as a Proportion Eg: If, out of 120 questions, you answer 90 correctly, how is this expressed as a percentage score?
Percentage Change Eg: If your sales figures are $1,250 in January and $1,750 in February, what is the percentage increase in February, compared to January?

These two percentage calculations are discussed separately below.


How to Calculate a Percentage as a Proportion

 Formulas:

  A B
1 Correct Answers: 90
2 Total Questions: 120
3 Percentage Score: =B1 / B2

 Results:

  A B
1 Correct Answers: 90
2 Total Questions: 120
3 Percentage Score: 75%

If you want to calculate a sample of a full set, as a percentage, this is done by dividing the sample size by the size of the full set.

For example, if you take an exam and answer 90 out of 120 questions correctly, this can be expressed as a percentage by simply dividing 90 by 120. This gives the result 0.75, or 75%

This percentage calculation is shown in the Excel spreadsheet on the right. The formula is shown in the top spreadsheet and the result is shown in the spreadsheet below.

Note that, to get the result shown in this example, it is necessary to set cell B3 to have percentage formatting.


How to Calculate Percentage Change

If you want to calculate the percentage change between value a and value b, this is done using the following formula:

 Formulas:

  A B
1 Jan Sales Figure: $12,500
2 Feb Sales Figure: $17,500
3 % Change: =(B2 - B1) / B1

 Results:

  A B
1 Jan Sales Figure: $12,500
2 Feb Sales Figure: $17,500
3 % Change: 40.0%

percentage change = ( b - a ) / a

For example if your sales figures are $1,250 in January and $1,750 in February, the percentage change in February, compared to January, is given by:

percentage change = ( $1,750 - $1,250 ) / $1,250

This gives the result 0.4, or +40%

This percentage calculation is shown in the Excel spreadsheet on the right. The formula is shown in the top spreadsheet and the result is shown in the spreadsheet below.

As in the previous example, in order to get the result displayed as a percentage, it is necessary to set cell B3 to have percentage formatting.


Further examples of Calculating Percentages in Excel can be found on the Microsoft Office website.

Return to the Excel Formulas Page

Return to the ExcelFunctions.net Home Page

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!
Disclaimer   Privacy Policy
Copyright © 2008-2014 ExcelFunctions.net