Learning how to calculate percentage in Excel is crucial to various tasks, whether it has to do with finances, data, or the grades one receives. Excel makes this task easier with its variety of functions and formulas. It is time to get more detailed and find out what steps we need to take to calculate percentages in Excel as fast as possible.
Applying Basic Percentage Calculation
Calculating percentages starts with understanding the basic formula:
Percentage=(Part)/(Total)×100 
In Excel, it is unnecessary to multiply by 100 because Excel formats the result of this operation to percentage automatically. Let’s walk through an example:
 Enter the total value in cell A1 (e.g., 200).
 Enter the part value in cell B1 (e.g., 50).
 In cell C1, type the formula: =B1/A1.
Excel will show the result in decimal form. To convert this to a percentage, we can format the cell:
 Select cell C1.
 Choose the “Home” tab in the toolbar and press the “%” button.
This action converts the decimal to a percentage. In our example, 50 divided by 200 results in 0.25, which Excel translates into 25 percent.
Formatting Cells to Display Percentages
Appropriate formatting of cells is very important to avoid confusion. To ensure our results are easily understandable, we should always format cells correctly:
 Choose the cell or range of cells that you want to format.
 Navigate to the “Home” tab.
 Next to the “Number” group, click the dropdown and choose “Percentage”.
Additionally, we can adjust the number of decimal places:
 Once you have the cell selected, go to the “Number” group in the “Home” tab and click the “Increase Decimal” or the “Decrease Decimal” buttons.
For example, if we get a percentage of 25. 6789%, we might want to present it only to two decimal places and format it to be 25. 68%.
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Calculating Percentages Automatically in Excel
Setting Up Automatic Calculations
Excel allows us to calculate percentages, which makes our work easier and faster. A simple reallife example would be computing the percentage of marks achieved by the students.
Assume we have a table of student scores:
Student Name 
Total Marks (B) 
Marks Obtained (C) 
Percentage (D) 
John 
500 
450 
C2/B2 
Jane 
500 
400 
C3/B3 
Mark 
500 
475 
C4/B4 
To calculate the percentage of marks obtained:
 Type the student names in column A.
 Enter the total marks in column B.
 Enter the marks obtained in column C.
 In column D, we will calculate the percentage using the formula: =C2/B2.
After you fill the formula in D2, click Enter. Drag the fill handle from D2 to D4 to apply the same formula to the other cells. Excel will show the percentages as decimals. We can then proceed to format these cells into percentages, as explained above.
Output:
Student Name 
Total Marks 
Marks Obtained 
Percentage 
John 
500 
450 
90% 
Jane 
500 
400 
80% 
Mark 
500 
475 
95% 
Using BuiltIn Excel Functions for Percentages
Excel has many builtin functions that have made our calculations even easier. For instance, when calculating the percentage change between two values, we use the formula:
Percentage Change=(New Value−Old Value)/(Old Value) 
Let’s apply this to a practical example:
Assume we have monthly sales data:
Month 
Sales 
Jan 
1000 
Feb 
1200 
Mar 
1100 
To calculate the percentage change from January to February:
 Enter the sales data in columns A and B.
 In cell C2, type the formula: =(B2 – B1)/B1.
Press Enter, then format cell C2 as a percentage. Use the fill handle to spread the formula in other cells. This method gave a quick view of how sales had transformed from one month to another.
Output:
Month 
Sales 
Percentage Change 
Jan 
1000 
– 
Feb 
1200 
20% 
Mar 
1100 
8.33% 
Calculating Percentage of a Total in Excel
It is a very general task to calculate percentages in Excel. It can help us to smoothly complete any task related to datasets like sales data and exam scores. It can be used to find out the portion each entry is contributing to the whole.
Calculating with Total at the End of the Table
Often, the total is listed at the end of a table. Let’s consider an example:
Product 
Sales 
Apples 
150 
Oranges 
200 
Bananas 
100 
Total 
450 
We want to find out what percentage of total sales each product represents. Here’s how:
 Enter the data in columns A and B.
 In cell C2, type the formula to calculate the percentage: =B2/$B$5.
The dollar signs create an absolute reference, ensuring the total remains fixed when we drag the formula.
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from C2 to C4.
Excel will display the percentages as decimals. We can format these cells as percentages:
 Select cells C2 to C4.
 Click the “%” button in the toolbar under the “Home” tab.
Now, we can see what percentage of total sales each product represents:
Output:
Product 
Sales 
Percentage of Total Sales 
Apples 
150 
33.33% 
Oranges 
200 
44.44% 
Bananas 
100 
22.22% 
Total 
450 

Utilising Absolute References in Formulas
Even when copying the formula to other cells, if you want a part of the formula to remain unchanged, absolute reference can be helpful. It is highly efficient in many scenarios. Let’s consider an example: we are finding out the target percentage achieved by each salesperson. This percentage will directly affect the total commission they will receive.
Salesperson 
Sales 
Target 
Percentage of Target Achieved 
Alice 
5000 
20000 

Bob 
3000 
20000 

Carol 
7000 
20000 

To calculate the percentage of the target each salesperson achieved:
 Enter the sales data in columns A, B, and C.
 In cell D2, type the formula: =B2/$C$2.
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from D2 to D4.
Excel will show the percentages of the target each salesperson achieved. Formatting these cells as percentages will make the data more readable:
Output:
Salesperson 
Sales 
Target 
Percentage of Target Achieved 
Alice 
5000 
20000 
25.00% 
Bob 
3000 
20000 
15.00% 
Carol 
7000 
20000 
35.00% 
Calculating Percentage Increase or Decrease Between Values
It is essential to know how any value changes with time. This can be very helpful in tracking sales growth, stock prices, or expenses of a particular department. Finding the percentage increase or decrease in data with time can help us understand the trend, predict upcoming events, and develop strategies.
Formula for Percentage Increase
The formula for calculating percentage increase is:
Percentage Increase=(New Value−Old Value)/(Old Value) 
Let’s apply this to a practical example. Assume we have sales data for two months:
Month 
Sales 
January 
1000 
February 
1200 
To calculate the percentage increase from January to February:
 Enter the data in columns A and B.
 In cell C2, type the formula: =(B2 – B1)/B1.
 Press Enter and format cell C2 as a percentage.
Excel will display the result as 20%, indicating a 20% increase in sales from January to February:
Output:
Month 
Sales 
Percentage Increase 
January 
1000 

February 
1200 
20.00% 
Formula for Percentage Decrease
The formula for calculating percentage decrease is similar:
Percentage Decrease=(Old Value−New Value)/(Old Value) 
Consider a scenario where sales drop from March to April:
Month 
Sales 
March 
1500 
April 
1300 
To calculate the percentage decrease from March to April:
 Enter the data in columns A and B.
 In cell C2, type the formula: =(B1 – B2)/B1.
 Press Enter and format cell C2 as a percentage.
Excel will show a 13.33% decrease in sales:
Output:
Month 
Sales 
Percentage Decrease 
March 
1500 

April 
1300 
13.33% 
Using Advanced Excel Functions for Percentage Calculations
Employing SUMIF for Conditional Percentage Calculations
The SUMIF function is powerful for conditional calculations. It sums values based on specified criteria. Let’s look at sales data across different regions:
Region 
Sales 
North 
5000 
South 
3000 
East 
4000 
West 
2000 
North 
6000 
South 
3500 
To find the total sales for the North region:
 Enter the data in columns A and B.
 In cell C1, type the formula: =SUMIF(A:A, “North”, B:B).
 Press Enter.
Excel will sum the sales for the North region. We can use this result to calculate the percentage of total sales:
 Enter the total sales in cell D1 (e.g., 23500).
 In cell E1, type the formula: =C1/D1.
 Press Enter and format cell E1 as a percentage.
This gives us the percentage of total sales for the North region:
Output:
Region 
Sales 
Total Sales for North 
Total Sales 
Percentage of Total Sales 
North 
5000 
11000 
23500 
46.81% 
South 
3000 



East 
4000 



West 
2000 



North 
6000 



South 
3500 



Calculating Percentages Across Multiple Rows
It is a very common activity to find out the percentages across multiple rows. Let’s consider an example: we have the sales data of different products, and we want to calculate the contribution of each with respect to the total sales:
Product 
Sales 
Apples 
3000 
Oranges 
5000 
Bananas 
2000 
To calculate each product’s percentage of total sales:
 Enter the data in columns A and B.
 In cell C1, type the formula: =B1/SUM(B:B).
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from C1 to C3.
Excel will calculate the percentage of total sales for each product. Formatting these cells as percentages will help visualise the data:
Output:
Product 
Sales 
Percentage of Total Sales 
Apples 
3000 
30.00% 
Oranges 
5000 
50.00% 
Bananas 
2000 
20.00% 
Using these methods and functions, we can efficiently perform various percentage calculations in Excel. The tools and techniques discussed here are essential for analysing and presenting data accurately and effectively.
Practical Applications of Percentage Calculations
Excel’s percentage calculations are versatile, helping us in various realworld scenarios. Let’s explore some practical applications.
Calculating Discounts and Sale Prices
We often need to calculate discounts during sales. Knowing how to do this in Excel can simplify budgeting and shopping.
Assume we have a list of products with their original prices and discount percentages:
Product 
Original Price 
Discount (%) 
Laptop 
$1000 
15% 
Smartphone 
$800 
10% 
Headphones 
$200 
20% 
To calculate the discounted price:
 Enter the product names in column A, original prices in column B, and discount percentages in column C.
 In cell D2, type the formula: =B2*(1C2).
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from D2 to D4.
Excel will show the discounted prices. To make the prices clear, format these cells as currency:
 Select cells D2 to D4.
 Click the “$” button in the toolbar under the “Home” tab.
The table with discounted prices will look like this:
Output:
Product 
Original Price 
Discount (%) 
Discounted Price 
Laptop 
$1000 
15% 
$850 
Smartphone 
$800 
10% 
$720 
Headphones 
$200 
20% 
$160 
Finding the Original Price from Discounted Price
Calculating the original price from a discounted price is also useful. Let’s consider the same product list but with discounted prices.
Product 
Discounted Price 
Discount (%) 
Laptop 
$850 
15% 
Smartphone 
$720 
10% 
Headphones 
$160 
20% 
To find the original price:
 Enter the product names in column A, discounted prices in column B, and discount percentages in column C.
 In cell D2, type the formula: =B2/(1C2).
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from D2 to D4.
Excel will show the original prices. Format these cells as currency for clarity:
 Select cells D2 to D4.
 Click the “$” button in the toolbar under the “Home” tab.
The table with original prices will look like this:
Output:
Product 
Discounted Price 
Discount (%) 
Original Price 
Laptop 
$850 
15% 
$1000 
Smartphone 
$720 
10% 
$800 
Headphones 
$160 
20% 
$200 
Calculating Tax and Other Percentages on Purchases
Calculating tax on purchases is common. For example, adding sales tax to the price of products can be automated in Excel.
Assume we have the following data:
Product 
Price 
Tax Rate (%) 
Laptop 
$1000 
8% 
Smartphone 
$800 
8% 
Headphones 
$200 
8% 
To calculate the tax amount:
 Enter the product names in column A, prices in column B, and tax rates in column C.
 In cell D2, type the formula: =B2*C2.
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from D2 to D4.
Excel will display the tax amounts. To find the total price, including tax:
 In cell E2, type the formula: =B2+D2.
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from E2 to E4.
The table will now look like this:
Output:
Product 
Price 
Tax Rate (%) 
Tax Amount 
Total Price 
Laptop 
$1000 
8% 
$80 
$1080 
Smartphone 
$800 
8% 
$64 
$864 
Headphones 
$200 
8% 
$16 
$216 
Adjusting Amounts by a Percentage
Adjusting values by a percentage is another useful application. Suppose we need to increase employee salaries by 10%.
Employee 
Current Salary 
Alice 
$5000 
Bob 
$4500 
Carol 
$6000 
To calculate the new salaries:
 Enter the employee names in column A and current salaries in column B.
 In cell C2, type the formula: =B2*(1+0.10).
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from C2 to C4.
Excel will display the increased salaries. The table will look like this:
Output:
Employee 
Current Salary 
New Salary 
Alice 
$5000 
$5500 
Bob 
$4500 
$4950 
Carol 
$6000 
$6600 
Tips for Efficiently Working with Percentages in Excel
Increasing or Decreasing a Number by a Percentage
We can adjust a number by a percentage using simple formulas. For instance, decreasing marketing expenses by 15% can be done as follows:
Expense 
Current Amount 
Advertising 
$2000 
Promotions 
$1500 
Sponsorships 
$1000 
To calculate the reduced amounts:
 Enter the expense categories in column A and the current amounts in column B.
 In cell C2, type the formula: =B2*(10.15).
 Press Enter, and drag the fill handle from C2 to C4.
Excel will show the reduced amounts. The table will look like this:
Output:
Expense 
Current Amount 
Reduced Amount 
Advertising 
$2000 
$1700 
Promotions 
$1500 
$1275 
Sponsorships 
$1000 
$850 
Handling Entire Columns with Percentage Changes
We often need to apply percentage changes to entire columns of data. Excel simplifies this with features like Paste Special.
To increase all values in a column by 20%:
 Enter the values in column A.
 In an empty cell, type =1+0.20 and press Enter.
 Copy this cell.
 Select the range in column A.
 Rightclick and choose “Paste Special”.
 Under “Operation”, select “Multiply”, and click OK.
Excel will adjust all values in the selected range by 20%.
Conclusion
Learning how to calculate percentage in Excel helps to obtain a flexible working tool for various activities. We looked at setting up discounts/sale prices, as well as searching for original prices and adding taxes. We also got to know how to practise amounts and manage whole columns with the help of percentages. These techniques can be useful to control and process financial information and identify patterns to make sound decisions quickly. These are made easier by the formulas and functions built into Excel to work with data with minimal instances of errors. These are skills that must be employed when calculating tax, when adjusting the company’s budget, or when analysing the rate of its sales.
FAQs
Use the formula =part/total, then format the cell as a percentage.
For increase: =(new value – old value)/old value. For decrease: =(old value – new value)/old value.
Yes, use the SUMIF function to sum values based on criteria and divide by the total.
Select the cells, go to the “Home” tab, and click the “%” button in the “Number” group.
Yes, use “Paste Special” with the “Multiply” option to adjust all selected values by a percentage.