Calculating Percentage Variances in Microsoft Excel

Follow these steps to determine percentage variances in Excel:

  1. Click—do not double-click—the desired percentage variance cell.
  2. On the Home tab, go to the Number group and click % (the percent sign). For location purposes, the field above the percent sign reads Percentage.
  3. Return to the desired percentage variance cell and double-click it.
  4. You are now ready to create your formula.
  5. Type the equals sign ( = ) followed by ( [an opening parenthesis, also known as an opening bracket]. Do not use adjacent spaces.
  6. Click the cell containing the FIRST of the two quantities to be compared.
  7. The cell coordinates will appear in the formula cell immediately after the opening parenthesis.
  8. In the formula cell, type / (the division sign) immediately after the first set of coordinates. Do not use adjacent spaces.
  9. Click the cell containing the SECOND of the two quantities to be compared.
  10. The cell coordinates will appear in the formula cell immediately after the division sign. Do not use adjacent spaces.
  11. In the formula cell, type ) [a closing parenthesis].
  12. Type -1 immediately after the closing parenthesis.
  13. Click any cell that does not contain a numerical value.
  14. The percentage variance cell will populate automatically based on your formula.
  15. Go to File > Save or File > Save As and save your work.
  16. Check your work visually.
  17. In the Formulas tab, go to the Formula Auditing group.
  18. Select Error Checking.
  19. Correct all errors and recalculate.
  20. Congratulations—you’re done!

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