How To Subtract In Google Sheets

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to subtract in Google Sheets.

How To Subtract In Google Sheets

If you need to subtract two numbers while working in Google Sheets, don’t pull out your calculator.

Doing your subtraction in the spreadsheet makes it easier to remember how you calculated your numbers. It also means you can update numbers later without having to recalculate everything.

Basic Subtraction

Here’s how to do basic subtraction in Google Sheets:

Step 1

Select a cell to enter the subtraction formula in.

Next, type the equals sign (=) to begin typing a formula.

Step 2

Enter the number you want to subtract from, a minus sign (which is the same as the hyphen), and the number you want to subtract.

Then hit enter. For example, if you want to subtract 8 from 17, type “=17-8

Step 3

The difference between the two numbers you entered in the formula will appear in the cell.

If you select the sell you can view the formula and make edits to it in the formula bar.

Subtracting Cell Values

Often you’ll want to subtract numbers that are already in your spreadsheet so that you can update the numbers later without having to retype any formulas.

To do this:

Step 1

Select a cell and type equals (=) to start your formula

Step 2

This time instead of entering numbers, you’ll enter references to cells in your spreadsheet.

If you click on a cell in your spreadsheet after typing equals, Google Sheets will add the reference to that cell into your formula.

Click on the cell that contains the number you want to subtract from and you’ll see the cell reference appear in the formula bar:

Step 3

Type the minus sign and click on the cell containing the number you want to subtract, then hit enter to finish your formula.

The formula should look something like this: “=C4-D4

Step 4

Now when you update the numbers in the referenced cells, the difference will automatically update

Summary

Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to subtract in Google Sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.