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How to Calculate Percentage in Excel Using Percentage Formula

How to Calculate Percentage in Excel Using Percentage Formula

Microsoft Excel is pretty handy! Figuring out percentages can be super useful and a breeze in real life, like when shopping and calculating discounts during sales. In this blog, we will look into different ways to calculate percentages in Excel and their implementation using examples.

Table of Contents

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How to use Percentage Formula in Excel

The fundamental percentage formula involves dividing a part by the whole and multiplying the result by 100. However, Excel’s percentage calculation does not involve the ‘*100’ multiplication. By applying the percentage format in Excel, the software automatically calculates the percentage. Therefore, in Excel, when working with percentages, we do not need to manually multiply the fraction’s outcome by 100.

Example: Let’s consider a scenario where you have the marks of 2 students, and you want to calculate the percentage obtained for each student.

  1. Enter the Marks: In cell B2, input the total marks obtained by student 1 and in cell C2, input the total marks.
  2. Apply the Formula: In cell D2, type the formula “=B2/C2” to calculate the percentage of a particular student.
  3. Format the Cell as Percentage:  After entering the formula in D2, select the cell, go to the ‘Home’ tab in Excel, and click on the ‘Percentage’ format button.

Excel will automatically convert the decimal into a percentage format, displaying the percentage of marks obtained out of the total marks.

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Why a%b does not Calculate Percentage?

In Excel, the `%` symbol serves as the modulo operator rather than a direct percentage calculation tool. Utilizing this symbol, such as in the formula `=A1 % B1`, computes the remainder resulting from the division of the value in cell A1 by that in cell B1.

For percentage computations in Excel, using mathematical operations involving the respective values is usual. For example, determining 20% of a value involves using a formula like `=0.2 * A1`, with A1 representing the value to derive 20% of.

Therefore, the `%` operator within Excel functions performs modulo operations and is not used for direct percentage calculations. For accurate percentage computations, multiplication and division are employed with the relevant numerical values.

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How to Automatically Calculate Percentages in Excel

The method in Excel for calculating percentages utilizes the formula =part/total. For example, when reducing an amount by 10% as a discount, the formula becomes =Price*(1-Discount %), where the “1” signifies 100%.

Imagine you are managing a project with five tasks, each carrying a maximum score of 50 points, summing up to a total of 250 points.

Step 1: Suppose you achieved 180 points out of the total 250. Calculate the average score attained.

Step 2: To find the average, divide your score by the total possible points and then multiply the fraction by 100.


(180/250)*100 = 72

The above calculation indicates an average score of 72, reflecting your overall performance across the project’s tasks.

How to Calculate Percentage of Variation in Excel

Calculating the percentage of variation in Excel involves a simple formula using subtraction and division. You will need the original value (old value) and the present value.

  1. Determine the Change: Subtract the original value from the present new value. For example, if the original value is in cell A21 and the present new value is in cell B21, the formula would be `=present value- original value B1 – A1`.
  2. Calculate the Percentage Change: Divide the change (result from step 1) by the original value. Then, multiply the result by 100 to get the percentage change. The formula for percentage change is “ =(present valueB2 – originalA2) / original valueA2  â€œ.

This formula calculates the percentage change between thewo values. It subtracts the original value from the new value to find the difference, then divides that difference by the original value and formats it as a percentage.

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How to Increase or Decrease a Number by Percentage Formula in Excel

To increase or decrease a number by a certain percentage in Excel, you will use simple arithmetic operations within formulas.

Increasing a Number by a Percentage

  1. Original Number: Assume your original number is in cell A1.
  2. Increase by Percentage: Let’s say you want to increase it by 15%.
  3. Calculation Formula:  In another cell (let’s use B1), input the formula `=A1 * (1 + 15%)`.

  – If increasing by 15%, the formula becomes `=A1 * 1.15`.

This formula multiplies the original number by 1 plus the percentage increase, effectively giving you the increased value.

Decreasing a Number by a Percentage

  1. Original Number: Enter the number is in cell A1.
  2. Decrease by Percentage: Enter the decrement percentage value.
  3. Calculation Formula: In another cell (let’s use B1), input the formula `=A1 * (1 – 20%)`.

  – If decreasing by 20%, the formula becomes `=A1 * 0.8`.

This formula multiplies the original number by 1 minus the percentage decrease, resulting in the decreased value.

Adjust the percentage value in the formula according to the desired increase or decrease. The resulting value in cell B1 will show the original number modified by the specified percentage change.


The methods in Excel for percentage calculations, including variations, involve simple formulas like =part/total and arithmetic operations for increase or decrease. Excel’s ‘%’ symbol serves as the modulo operator, not for direct percentage calculations. Utilizing these formulas simplifies tasks like discount calculations or finding average scores, making Excel a versatile tool for various mathematical computations.


How do I calculate the percentage change between two values in Excel?

To find the percentage change, subtract the original value from the new value. Then divide the difference by the original value and multiply by 100 to get the percentage change. The formula is =(New Value – Original Value) / Original Value * 100.

Can I apply a percentage discount to amounts in Excel?

Yes, you can. Use the formula =Price * (1 – Discount %) to calculate the discounted amount. Replace “Price” with the original value and “Discount %” with the percentage you want to discount.

What is the method to calculate average percentages in Excel?

Calculate individual percentages first. Then use the average formula, like =AVERAGE(range of percentage values), to find the overall average percentage.

Is there a way to format values as percentages in Excel?

Yes, select the cell or range of cells, go to the ‘Home’ tab, click on the ‘Number Format’ drop-down, and choose ‘Percentage’ to display values as percentages.

How can I calculate the percentage contribution of specific values to a total in Excel?

Divide the specific value by the total value, then multiply by 100 to get the percentage contribution. The formula is =(Specific Value / Total Value) * 100.

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Meet Akash, a Principal Data Scientist who worked as a Supply Chain professional with expertise in demand planning, inventory management, and network optimization. With a master’s degree from IIT Kanpur, his areas of interest include machine learning and operations research.