The most simple Excel subtraction formula consists of the = sign, followed by a list of two or more numbers with the  operator in between them. This is shown in the spreadsheet on the right. The simple excel subtraction formula example on the right subtracts the numbers 2 and 5 from the number 11 and returns the value 4. 


As with all Excel formulas, instead of typing in the numbers directly, you can use references to cells containing numbers. The Excel subtraction formula in cell A1 of the spreadsheet on the right adds together the contents of cells B1, B2 and B3. Again, the formula returns the value 4. 
