Subtraction Formula in Excel
In this tutorial, you will learn how to use SUM as a subtraction formula in excel. The subtraction function in excel is actually not provided directly but you can use SUM as the best alternative.
In some cases, probably it is easier if you write your minus calculation manually. Especially, when there aren’t too many numbers for the calculation process. If you want to learn how to do it manually, then please see this tutorial.
Why do We Need to Learn Excel Minus Formula?
In processing numeric data, one of the calculation processes often used is subtraction. If we want to do processing in a spreadsheet file optimally, then we must know how to do this calculation here. Not understanding how to do it can make our data analysis produce wrong results or not fit with our needs.
As an example of the need in work, let’s say we try to calculate the current cash position of our company. In the calculation, of course, we must subtract the previous cash position with various accounts such as vendors’ transactions and such. If we do the calculation in a spreadsheet file, then we need to understand how to do subtraction in excel sheet. When there are many numbers calculated like in the example, then it will take much time if we do it manually.
To help you do the calculation fast, then you can use SUM as a subtraction formula in excel. As you know, this formula is usually used for the addition calculation. However, if you know how to use it in the subtraction process, then you can use it to do your subtraction fast. This is needed especially when there are many numbers to be processed in your spreadsheet.
What is Subtraction Formula in Excel?
Subtraction formula in excel is the function that utilizes SUM to calculate minus calculations in a spreadsheet file. It is used because there is no available direct ms excel subtraction formula. When using SUM for minus calculation, you need to add minus signs () in front of all your numeric subtractors.
Generally, SUM as a subtraction formula in excel has the input explanation as follows:
=SUM(number1, number2, …)
Note:
number1, number2, … = all numbers that you want to include in the calculation. Subtractors need to be given minus signs.
How to Use SUM as an Automatic Minus Function in Excel?
The following will explain how to use SUM as a subtraction formula in excel. The writing process is almost similar to when you use the SUM for your addition process. However, you must make sure that you add a minus sign in each of your subtractors.
Using SUM as Formula of Subtraction in Excel

Type equal sign ( = ) in the cell where you want to put the result in

Type SUM (can be with large and small letters) and open bracket sign after =

Input the numbers or cell coordinates or cell ranges where you put the numbers to be processed are. Input them after the open bracket sign. Input comma signs ( , ) too between all your inputs. Don’t forget to add minus signs (  ) on the numbers or cell coordinates that become the subtractors. The signs can be added in your formula or in your cells.

Type close bracket sign after all the numbers or cell coordinates have already been inputted
 Press Enter

The process is done!
Exercise
After understanding how to use SUM as a subtraction formula in excel, now is the time to do an exercise. It is done so your understanding of the tutorial can become sharper.
Download the exercise file and answer all the questions below. Download the answer key file too if you want to check your answers after finishing the exercise. Or probably when you are confused about how to answer the exercise questions.
Link for the exercise file:
Download here
Questions
 What is the result of the minus calculation of the 5 numbers in row no. 1? In this row, all the subtractors have been given minus signs
 What is the result of the minus calculation of the 5 numbers in row no. 2? The subtractors are the second and fifth numbers. In this row, all the subtractors haven’t been given minus signs
 What is the result of the no. 1 answer subtracted by the no. 2 answer?
Link for the answer key file:
Download here
Additional Notes
Need to study other types of calculation processes for your spreadsheet file numbers processing? Take a look at the tutorial list for excel calculations from Compute Expert!