How to Calculate Percentage in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide

Table of Contents
 How to Calculate Percentage in Excel: A Comprehensive Guide
 Understanding Percentages in Excel
 Calculating Percentage Increase
 Calculating Percentage Decrease
 Calculating Percentage of a Number
 Using Excel Functions to Calculate Percentages
 The PERCENTAGE Function
 The PERCENTILE Function
 Formatting Cells as Percentages
 Q&A
 Q1: Can I calculate percentages using conditional formatting in Excel?
 Q2: How can I calculate the percentage change between two values in Excel?
 Q3: Can I calculate percentages in Excel using pivot tables?
Excel is a powerful tool that offers a wide range of functions and formulas to perform complex calculations and analysis. One of the most commonly used calculations in Excel is finding percentages. Whether you need to calculate a percentage increase, decrease, or simply find the percentage of a number, Excel provides several methods to accomplish these tasks. In this article, we will explore different ways to calculate percentages in Excel and provide you with valuable insights and examples to help you master this essential skill.
Understanding Percentages in Excel
Before we dive into the various methods of calculating percentages in Excel, let’s first understand the concept of percentages. A percentage is a way to express a fraction or a ratio as a portion of 100. It is often denoted by the symbol “%”. In Excel, percentages are typically represented as decimal values, ranging from 0 to 1, where 1 represents 100%.
Calculating Percentage Increase
Percentage increase is a common calculation used to determine the growth or change in a value over time. To calculate the percentage increase in Excel, you can use the following formula:
= (new value  old value) / old value * 100
Let’s consider an example to illustrate this formula. Suppose you have a sales data for two consecutive years, and you want to calculate the percentage increase in sales:
 Year 1 sales: $50,000
 Year 2 sales: $70,000
Using the formula, we can calculate the percentage increase as follows:
= ($70,000  $50,000) / $50,000 * 100
The result will be 40%, indicating a 40% increase in sales from Year 1 to Year 2.
Calculating Percentage Decrease
Similar to calculating percentage increase, you can also calculate percentage decrease in Excel. The formula for percentage decrease is:
= (old value  new value) / old value * 100
Let’s consider another example to demonstrate this formula. Suppose you have a stock portfolio with an initial value of $10,000, and its value has decreased to $8,000. To calculate the percentage decrease, you can use the following formula:
= ($10,000  $8,000) / $10,000 * 100
The result will be 20%, indicating a 20% decrease in the value of your stock portfolio.
Calculating Percentage of a Number
In addition to calculating percentage increase or decrease, you may also need to find the percentage of a specific number. Excel provides a simple formula to accomplish this:
= (percentage / 100) * number
Let’s say you want to find 25% of $200. Using the formula, you can calculate it as follows:
= (25 / 100) * $200
The result will be $50, indicating that 25% of $200 is $50.
Using Excel Functions to Calculate Percentages
While the formulas mentioned above are effective for calculating percentages in Excel, the software also offers builtin functions that can simplify the process. Let’s explore some of these functions:
The PERCENTAGE Function
The PERCENTAGE function in Excel is a useful tool for calculating percentages. It takes two arguments: the numerator and the denominator, and returns the result as a percentage. The formula syntax is as follows:
= PERCENTAGE(numerator, denominator)
For example, if you want to calculate the percentage of 75 out of 100, you can use the PERCENTAGE function as follows:
= PERCENTAGE(75, 100)
The result will be 75%, indicating that 75 is 75% of 100.
The PERCENTILE Function
The PERCENTILE function in Excel is used to find the kth percentile of a dataset. While it may not directly calculate percentages, it can be a valuable tool for analyzing data and understanding the distribution of values. The formula syntax is as follows:
= PERCENTILE(array, k)
For example, if you have a dataset of test scores and you want to find the 90th percentile, you can use the PERCENTILE function as follows:
= PERCENTILE(A1:A10, 0.9)
The result will be the value that represents the 90th percentile of the dataset.
Formatting Cells as Percentages
In addition to using formulas and functions, Excel allows you to format cells as percentages. This can be particularly useful when presenting data or creating charts. To format a cell as a percentage, follow these steps:
 Select the cell or range of cells you want to format.
 Rightclick and choose “Format Cells” from the context menu.
 In the Format Cells dialog box, select the “Percentage” category.
 Specify the desired number of decimal places and click “OK”.
Once you have formatted the cells as percentages, Excel will automatically convert the decimal values to percentages and display them accordingly.
Q&A
Q1: Can I calculate percentages using conditional formatting in Excel?
A1: No, conditional formatting in Excel is used to apply formatting rules based on specific conditions, such as highlighting cells that meet certain criteria. While it can be a powerful tool for visualizing data, it does not directly calculate percentages.
Q2: How can I calculate the percentage change between two values in Excel?
A2: To calculate the percentage change between two values in Excel, you can use the following formula:
= (new value  old value) / old value * 100
For example, if you have an initial value of 100 and a final value of 150, the formula would be:
= (150  100) / 100 * 100
The result will be 50%, indicating a 50% increase.
Q3: Can I calculate percentages in Excel using pivot tables?
A3: Yes, Excel’s pivot tables offer a powerful way to analyze and summarize data, including calculating percentages. By selecting the appropriate options in the pivot table settings, you can easily calculate percentages based on the values in your dataset.