Subtraction is one of the four fundamental operations in mathematics. Subtraction may be used alone or in conjunction with other operations to generate complicated formulae. In Google Sheets, there is no specific function for subtracting, and you may just use the minus (-) symbol to subtract two values.
Aside from subtracting integers, you may also subtract numbers in cells by referencing them in the formula bar. Furthermore, you can subtract a sequence of integers and even matrices from one another. All of this is possible with the simple minus sign (-).
How to Subtract Numbers in Google Sheets
Because Google Sheets lacks a subtract feature, you may subtract integers in Sheets in the same way you would on paper. Except this time, you won’t have to calculate it yourself since Sheets will do it for you. Let’s begin by removing two integers.
- Choose the cell where you wish the subtraction result to appear.
- Enter an equal (=) symbol in the formula bar. This will begin your formula.
- Enter the number to be subtracted, followed by a minus sign (-), and then the number to be subtracted. If you want to remove 140 from 256, the formula is as follows: =256-140
- Enter your password. The outcome will be shown in the cell.
Related: How to Subtract in Excel
How to Subtract Cells in Google Sheets
You may refer to the cells that hold the numbers instead of individually inputting them in your subtraction calculation. We have the number of original participants for an experiment and the number of volunteers that quit in this example spreadsheet. The purpose is to determine the current number of volunteers.
- Choose the cell where you wish the calculation results to appear. In this case, it will be cell B3.
- Enter the following formula in the formula bar: =B1-B2 This will subtract the number in B2 from the number in B1, and the results will be shown in B3.
- Hit the Enter key. In cell B3, Google Sheets will now indicate the number of active volunteers.
How to Subtract Multiple Cells in Google Sheets
You may also use a single formula to subtract numerous values. There are several ways to do this, but we’ll focus on two of the most basic.
As a continuation of the preceding example, we have a spreadsheet that contains the number of original volunteers as well as the number of volunteers that have quit each month. The purpose here is to deduct the resigned volunteers from the total number of current volunteers.
- Choose the cell where you want the final result to appear. In the present case, this will be cell B8.
- Enter the following formula in the formula bar: =B1-B2-B3-B4-B5-B6-B7 This formula will subtract B2 from B1, then B3 from the result of the previous subtraction, and so on until B7 is subtracted from the sum of all previous subtractions.
- Hit the Enter key. The number of current volunteers is now visible.
Subtracting With the SUM Function
The SUM function in Google Sheets is useful for adding together cell totals. You may use the SUM function to add all the cells and then deduct the total number.
The SUM function allows you to easily accomplish the results of the preceding example without having to refer to the cells one by one.
- Choose the cell where you wish the subtraction result to appear. Cell B8 will be used once more.
- Enter the following formula in the formula bar: =B1-SUM(B2:B7) Using the SUM function, this formula will sum all of the resigned volunteers together, and then deduct the number of resigned volunteers from the original volunteers. The outcome will be the current number of volunteers.
- Enter your password. The number of active volunteers will now be calculated and shown in Google Sheets.
How to Subtract Matrices in Google Sheets
A matrix is just a table with an array of integers in it. In Google Sheets, you can do simple mathematical operations on matrices, such as subtracting one from another. Remember that in order to subtract matrices, each must have the same structure.
That example, if your first matrix is a 33, your second and third matrices (where you would show the subtraction results) should also be 33s.
Related: How to Use Programming to Determine Whether Two Matrices Are Identical
Because matrices are arrays, you’ll need to construct an array formula to operate with them. An array is a structure that contains several values, and an array formula instructs Google Sheets to consider these values as an array rather than individual values. Though the name may seem intimidating, the array formula is straightforward in this situation.
We have three 33 matrices in this case. The objective is to subtraction matrix 2 from matrix 1 and present the results in matrix 3.
- Choose the first cell in the matrix to see the subtraction results. In this case, matrix 3 begins at E5, thus we choose E5.
- Navigate to the formula bar. There are two options for you here.
- Enter the following formula in the formula bar and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter: =(A2:C4)-(A7:C9) Matrix 2 (A7:C9) is chosen and then subtracted from matrix 1. (A2:C4). When you press Ctrl + Shift + Enter instead of Enter alone, Google Sheets recognizes that you’re working with an array formula. Sheets will populate your formula using the ArrayFormula function and show the results.
- Enter the following formula in the formula bar and hit Enter: =ArrayFormula((A2:C4)-(A7:C9)) The ArrayFormula function contains the subtraction formula. This will convert the formula to an array formula, and the integers will be treated as arrays in Google Sheets. You don’t need to utilize the Ctrl + Shift + Enter combination since you’ve already used the ArrayFormula.
Subtraction Made Easy With Google Sheets
Subtraction is one of the four fundamental arithmetic operations, and you can use Google Sheets to subtract integers, cells, and even matrices. Though subtraction is fundamentally straightforward, you can combine it with other Sheets operations to construct complicated formulae that make your calculations much simpler.
Google Sheets is a joy to use and has the potential to make everyone who works with numbers’ lives considerably simpler. The great thing with Sheets is that just when you think it couldn’t be any simpler, it surprises you and shows you how it can make your life even easier.
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