Subtraction is the process of finding the difference between two numbers or integers. If we go back to our old school memory, we used to put a minus sign between two numbers. In **Microsoft Excel**, it’s no different. You can subtract numbers, percentages, days, minutes, texts, etc. Now let’s take a look at how you can subtract two columns in excel.

**Table of Contents** hide

Download Practice Workbook

5 Suitable Methods to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

1. Apply Subtraction Between Two Columns in Excel

2. Utilize Paste Special Feature to Subtract Two columns in Excel

3. Subtract Two Columns with Dates in Excel

4. Subtract Two Columns with Text

4.1 Case-Sensitive Condition

4.2 Case-Insensitive Condition

5. Create Pivot Table to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

Use Absolute Reference to Subtract a Number from Two Columns in Excel

Apply Matrix Subtraction in Excel

Things To Remember

Conclusion

Related Articles

## Download Practice Workbook

Download this practice workbook to exercise while you are reading this article.

**Subtract Two Columns.xlsx**

## 5 Suitable Methods to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

In this tutorial, I am going to share with you 5 simple methods to subtract two columns in Excel.

### 1. Apply Subtraction Between Two Columns in Excel

Like in old school days, we used to put a minus sign between two numbers. In this method, I will show you how you can subtract between two columns just by putting a minus sign. Suppose we have a dataset of some products, their purchased price, and selling price. Now we are going to calculate the profit for each product using subtraction.

**Steps:**

- Select a
**cell**(**E5**) to calculate. - Put the formula in the cell-

`=D5-C5`

- Press
**Enter**. - Subtraction output for the selected two cells will be shown.

- Drag down to get the desired result.

Here you can see we got our profit for each product using a minus sign between two cells.

**Read More: How to Apply Subtraction Formula in Excel (8 Easy Ways)**

### 2. Utilize Paste Special Feature to Subtract Two columns in Excel

Utilizing paste special tool you can subtract two columns in excel. Suppose we have a dataset of some products and their sales for two months.

Now we are going to subtract a value from these two columns.

**Step 1:**

- Select the value in
**cell**(**C14**) to subtract from two columns. - Press
**Ctrl+C**to copy.

**Step 2:**

- Choose two
**columns**from the dataset and click the**right button**on the mouse.

- A new window will appear with
**options**. - From the options select “
**Paste****Special**”.

- From the “
**Paste****Special**” window choose “**Subtract**”. - Click
**OK**.

- You will find new values in the two columns subtracted by the value in
**cell**(**C14**).

**Read More: ****How to Subtract Columns in Excel (6 Easy Methods)**

### 3. Subtract Two Columns with Dates in Excel

Sometimes we might need to calculate days from two dates. In this method, I am going to show you how you can calculate days from two dates with simple subtraction formula.

Here I have two columns of Dates. Now I will calculate the total days between these dates.

**Steps:**

- Choose a
**cell**. Here I have chosen**cell**(**D5**). - Apply the formula-

`=C5-B5`

- Press
**Enter**. - You will find the days between those two dates.
- Drag down the “
**Fill****handle**”.

- Thus you will get the total days between the dates in two columns.

**Read More:** How to Subtract in Excel Based on Criteria (3 Suitable Examples)

### 4. Subtract Two Columns with Text

Applying the TRIM, SUBSTITUTE, REPLACE, and SEARCH functions you can subtract text from two columns. In this method, I will show you case-sensitive and case-insensitive cases to subtract text from two columns.

#### 4.1 Case-Sensitive Condition

Here we have a dataset of some product codes. Now we are going to separate the codes from this column.

**Steps:**

- Select a
**cell**(**D5**). - Apply the formula-

`=TRIM(SUBSTITUTE(B5,C5,""))`

Where,

- The
**TRIM function removes extra spaces**from a text string. - The
**SUBSTITUTE function**replaces a string with another string.

- Press
**Enter**. - You will get the product name in the result cell.
- Now drag down the “
**Fill****handle**”.

- Here we got our desired result in a new column with only the product names.

#### 4.2 Case-Insensitive Condition

In case-insensitive cases, we will use the **TRIM**, **REPLACE **and **SEARCH **functions to subtract text.

**Steps:**

- Choose a
**cell**and apply the formula-

`=TRIM(REPLACE(B5,SEARCH(C5,B5),LEN(C5),""))`

Where,

- The
**REPLACE function**will replace a part from the text string. - The
**SEARCH function**will look for a part in the given string.

- Press
**Enter**. - Drag down the “
**Fill****handle**”.

- Thus we will get our desired text from the string.

**Read More: ****Subtraction for Whole Column in Excel (with 5 Examples)**

### 5. Create Pivot Table to Subtract Two Columns in Excel

While working in excel often we need to subtract data in a pivot table. In this method, I am explaining a quick way to subtract two columns in a pivot table.

Let’s create a pivot table first. Suppose we have a dataset of some teams and their sales and collection report. We will create a pivot table from the list and then subtract between the columns in the pivot table.

**Step 1:**

- Select the whole
**dataset**. - Choose “
**Pivot Table**” from the “**Insert**” option.

- In the “
**PivotTable from table or range**” select “**Existing Worksheet**” and then the location in the same worksheet. - Press
**OK**.

**Step 2:**

- Choose all three options from the “
**PivotTable Fields**”.

- Here we got our
**pivot table.**Now we will subtract between these two columns.

**Step 3:**

- From the “
**PivotTable Analyze**” option go to “**Field, Items, & Sets**” and select “**Calculated Field**”.

- A new window will appear named “
**Insert Calculated Field**”. - In the “
**Name**” section type “**Remaining****Collection**” and in the “**Formula**” section apply the subtraction formula between the fields “**Sales**” and**Collection**”. - Press
**OK**.

- This way you will get the result in a new column of a pivot table.

**Read More:** How to Subtract Multiple Cells in Excel (6 Effective Methods)

## Use Absolute Reference to Subtract a Number from Two Columns in Excel

An **absolute reference **is used to refer to a fixed location in a cell. Using absolute reference you can subtract a number from two columns in excel.

Here we have a dataset. Now we are going to subtract the number **10 **from both of the columns by applying the subtraction formula.

**Steps:**

- Choose a
**cell**. Here I have selected**cell**(**F5**). - Apply the formula-

`=C5-$C$14`

Where,

- We used the
**dollar sign($)**to lock the cell which works like an absolute reference.

- Click
**Enter**. - Thus we got our result for the cell.
- Drag down the “
**Fill****handle**” to the left side to get the output in both columns.

- Now, pull the “
**fill handle**” down selecting both columns.

Thus we can get our subtracted data for both columns.

**Read More:** How to Add and Subtract Multiple Cells in Excel (3 Examples)

## Apply Matrix Subtraction in Excel

In many cases, we may need to apply matrix subtraction in excel. In this method, I will show you a simple way of doing matrix subtraction. Here we have a dataset of two matrix. Now we will subtract between this matrix.

**Steps:**

- Select rows and columns like the matrix rows and columns to get the output.
- Apply the formula in the cells-

`{=(B5:D7)-(F5:H7)}`

- Press
**Enter**. - Thus we can get our output with a simple
**subtraction formula**between the cells.

## Things To Remember

- Before Applying formulas in a cell don’t forget to check the cell is in general format. If not then- select the cell and click the mouse’s right button to open options. From
**Options > Format Cells > General**.

## Conclusion

I have tried to cover all the methods of subtracting two columns in excel. Hope you find it useful. Feel free to comment in the comment section. Thanks!

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