How to Subtract on Google Spreadsheets

The work done on spreadsheets is often based on formulas. So for any function that you want to be implemented on the data that you just added to the spreadsheet, you need to add a formula manually. For subtraction of data, too, you need to add a specific formula that will get you the subtracted answers on a Google spreadsheet.

To make sure that your formula is correctly entered on a spreadsheet, here are a few things that you must take into account.

  • Choose the cell where you want the subtracted value to show. This is also the cell where you will enter the formula.
  • Begin your subtraction formula with a ‘=’, equals to sign. This is a must for all formulas. You cannot add a formula without the equals to sign because it is always a part of the formula. Without an equals to sign, you will not get a value as you expected the formula to work. An error will surely occur if you miss the equals to sign.
  • You press the enter key after adding the correct formula. This will get you the value for your answer. If you don’t press the enter key, you will not get the answer, the formula will remain in its original form, instead of implementing the function on the data.
  • For subtraction, the minus sign or, as we call it ‘dash’ sign, ‘-‘, is used for subtraction formulas in Google Sheets. If you have data that requires a subtraction formula, you will use ‘-‘ to subtract the data.

Example of Subtraction in Google Sheets

Say, for example, that you have to subtract the data in Cell A and Cell B.

add the data that you want to be subtracted

You will define a cell in which you want to show the answer for the subtraction, and enter the formula to it. The formula is simple, = cell one – cell 2. Adding brackets is not mandatory. Look at the image below to understand how you can add the formula to a cell. You have to be very sure about the cells which you want to be subtracted. If instead of writing A2, if you wrote A3, this will get you an answer, but not the correct answer for the correct cells.

Add the formula in the cell where you want the answer to display
Press enter to make sure that the formula is functioned

To apply the same formula on the rest of the cells, which require the same formula, you can drag and drop the cursor, after selecting the first cell, in the row or column where you want the same formula to be implemented.

Drag to copy and paste the same formula on the rest of the cells in that row or column
Drop

This is not the only way to subtract on a Google Sheet. You can enter the numbers, that you have entered in the cells, instead of typing A2 or B2. For example, you can write the formula as:

=100-10 and not =A2-B2

Both, of these, will, however, give you the correct answer. It is not suggested to use this method though. Because if you change the core values entered in cell A, you will have to manually change that for the subtraction column as well, which will become an added process for your data-keeping.

Benefits of using a Formula on Google Sheets

Entering data with a formula, which has the cell numbers and alphabets, is easier to manage. This is because, say, for instance, you had to change the values for column B. Now, once you change the values in column B, the subtracted answers in column C will automatically change according to the new values. This is the power of formulas in Google Sheets. This will help you save time, reduce chances of error and automatically adjust to changes made later in the data.

How to View the Formula on Google Spread Sheets?

What you see on a Google sheet, is the answers after the formula has been entered. But if you want to view the formula used to get that answer, you can do that easily, if, the maker of the spreadsheet, has used formulas to enter the data, that is.

Here is what you can do to view the formula on a filled spreadsheet:

  1. Click on the cell for which you want to analyze the formula. Clicking once would make the program select the cell, and will show you the answer for that specific cell in the bar as highlighted in the picture below.
    To view the formula, follow either of the two methods
  2. Another way to do this is, by clicking twice on the same cell. This will show you the formula for the cell in the cell itself.
    Double click on the cell

You can use both the ways mentioned above, to edit the formula as well.

Note: In a similar way, you can also multiply and perform addition on your Google Sheets by creating and implementing formulas.

Habiba Rehman
Major love for reading, but writing is what keeps me going. Dream to publish my own novels someday.