How to Subtract Two Columns in Excel – Subtract Columns

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In the previous post, you learned how to subtract one cell from another in Excel. Subtraction is one of the basic operations you can use in Excel. It lets you subtract one number from another by using the minus sign. Regular Excel users know that Excel allows you to subtract numbers, percentages, months, days, dates, minutes, hours, and seconds as well.

Apart from that you can even subtract text strings, characters, columns, and rows. In this post, let’s see how to subtract two columns in Excel.

Subtraction Formula in Excel

There’s no direct way to use the subtraction function, however, as you know Excel always finds a solution. With the help of the minus sign (-), you can easily manage to subtract two columns. Here is the basic formula you can use for the subtraction function:


Assume that you need to minus 20 from 100 and for this you will enter the formula as:

=100 – 20

The answer you get will be 80.

Here are simple steps to enter the formula in the sheet:

  • Put the equal sign (=) in a cell where you need the outcome to appear.
  • Enter the first number followed by the minus sign and then the second number.
  • Press ENTER key.

That’s it!

Similar to math, you can add more than one arithmetic operation in a single formula. When you need to subtract a few numbers from 100, enter all of them one by one followed by a minus sign:

=100 – 10 – 20 – 30

Parenthesis can help you define which part of the formula needs to be calculated first. Here’s how:

= (100 – 10) / (80 – 20)

How to Subtract Two Columns in Excel?

As you already know, subtraction needs a minus sign to be added along with the number. Now, let’s understand how you can subtract two different columns by putting a minus sign. Let’s assume that your dataset contains the selling as well as the purchased price of some products and you need to find the profit of each product.

  • Choose a cell E5 to calculate.
  • Enter the formula in the cell as:


  • Press ENTER key.
  • The next screen will show the subtraction output of the values from the dataset.

  • Drag down further to get the results.


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How to Subtract Two Columns with Dates in Excel?

Now, let’s learn how you can manage to calculate days from two dates by using the subtraction formula.

Here are two Dates columns that you will have to calculate the total days between the dates.

  • Select cell D5.
  • Enter the formula:


  • Press ENTER key.
  • The days between the two dates will appear.
  • Now, simply drag down the Fill handle.

Below you can see the total days between the dates appear in two columns.

How to Subtract Two Columns in Excel with Paste Special Feature?

Here is another great option that you can use to subtract two columns in Excel. With the Paste Special option, let’s suppose you have a dataset containing sales of some products for two months. Find the subtraction value from these two columns now:

  • For subtraction, choose a value in cell C14.
  • Press CTRL + C to copy the values.

  • From the dataset, now select two columns and right-click with the mouse.

  • Options window will pop up.
  • From there, you have to select the Paste Special option.

  • Now, click on Subtract button from the Paste Special screen.
  • Click OK.

  • In cell C14, you will find new values in two columns.

To Sum Up:

In this post, you have learned how to subtract two columns in Excel with the help of the Paste Special option and two columns with dates. Continue exploring Excel and keep spreading knowledge.

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