Calculating percentages is a fundamental task in Excel, whether you need to determine a percentage increase, find a percentage of a total, or analyze data as a percentage of a whole. Understanding the formula for calculating percentages in Excel can help you accurately perform these calculations and present your data effectively. In this blog post, we will guide you step by step on how to calculate percentages in Excel using specific commands and functions.

Step 1: Enter Your Data

Start by entering the data you need to work with in an Excel worksheet. For the purpose of this guide, let’s assume you have a column of numbers representing the values you want to calculate as percentages.


Step 2: Format the Cells

Before performing calculations, it’s essential to format the cells to display percentages correctly. Select the cell or range of cells where you will display the percentages. Then, go to the “Home” tab, click on the “Number Format” drop-down menu, and choose “Percentage.” This ensures that Excel treats the numbers as percentages and displays them accordingly.

Step 3: Calculate the Percentage of a Total

To calculate the percentage of a total, you can use the Excel formula:

= (value / total) * 100

In this formula, replace “value” with the specific cell containing the value you want to calculate and “total” with the cell containing the total or whole value.

Example: If you want to calculate the percentage of each value from the total of 600, you would use the formula:

= (A2 / $B$2) * 100

Drag the fill handle of the cell with the formula down to apply it to the rest of the dataset.

Step 4: Calculate the Percentage Change

To calculate the percentage change between two values, you can use the Excel formula:

= ((new value - old value) / old value) * 100

In this formula, “new value” represents the latest value, and “old value” represents the previous value.

Example: Let’s say you have the following values:

Old ValueNew Value

To calculate the percentage change, use the formula:

= ((B2 - A2) / A2) * 100

Step 5: Calculate Percentages as Part of a Whole

If you want to calculate percentages as part of a whole, such as market share or the contribution of specific items to a total, you can use the Excel formula:

= (value / SUM(range)) * 100

In this formula, replace “value” with the cell containing the specific value and “range” with the range of values that represent the whole.

Example: Suppose you have the following values:

Item A100
Item B200
Item C300

To calculate the percentages as a part of the total, use the formula:

= (B2 / SUM($B$2:$B$4)) * 100


Calculating percentages in Excel is a common task, and understanding the formula and commands involved makes the process simple and accurate. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this blog post, you can confidently calculate percentages, including percentages of a total, percentage change, and percentages as part of a whole. Excel’s powerful formulas and functions make it a valuable tool for analyzing and presenting data with percentages.

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