To calculate the difference between two numbers in Microsoft Excel, choose the cell where you want the result to appear, enter the two values in the

Formulabar with a minus sign between them, and hitEnteron your keyboard.

Follow the step-by-step strategies below to learn the various ways you can calculate the difference between two numbers in Excel.

Quick Jump

Toggle## Method 1: Using the Minus Sign

**Difficulty**: Beginner**Time Estimate**: 5 Seconds

1. Select the cell where you want your answer.2. In the **Formula** bar, enter the values with a minus sign between them. In our example, we use **=117-28**.

3. Press the** Enter **key on your keyboard.

It’s that simple!

## Method 2: Using Cell References

**Difficulty**: Beginner**Time Estimate**: 5 Seconds

1. Click on the cell where you want to have your result.

2. Navigate to the **Formula** bar and paste the formula **=A1-B1**. **A1** and **B1** are the cells with the values used in the equation.

3. Hit the **Enter **key.

Piece of cake! You have done it!

## Method 3: Using Formulas

**Difficulty**: Beginner**Time Estimate**: 10 Seconds

1. Select the cell where you want your result.

2. Go to the **Formula** bar and enter the formula **=ABS(A1-B1)**, where **A1** and **B1** are the cells with the numbers for the equation.

3. Press the** Enter **key on your keyboard.

Alternatively, you may also use the formula **=SUM(A1-B1)**, which is based on the same idea as the formula above.

And there you go!

## The Difference Between Two Numbers in Excel FAQs

Have more questions on the topic? Check out the list of FAQs and answers below for further information.

### Why is it called the difference?

“Difference” is a function in Excel that returns the numerical value between two numbers—the difference between one number and the other. To use the difference function, you need to have two numbers: the first number is your starting value, and the second number is the amount you want to take away from the first number.

### Does difference mean subtract?

Finding the difference between two numbers in Excel is the result of a mathematical operation called subtraction. Subtraction is the process of taking one number away from another. The answer to a subtraction problem is called the difference.

### Can the difference between two numbers be negative?

The difference between two numbers can be positive, negative, or zero. Positive differences occur when the first number is greater than the second number, such as in the example used above: **117-28=89**. Negative differences happen when the first number is less than the second number. If we reversed the numbers in our example, we would have** 28-117=-89**. If the two numbers are equal to each other, then their difference is zero: **117-117=0**.