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Creating a percentage-increase formula

From: Excel 2013 Essential Training

Video: Creating a percentage-increase formula

In this worksheet we might want to calculate how much our Profits have changed month by month. We can certainly do this with the Overhead numbers and also of course with the Sales too. Let's say we want to focus on Profits. Now, is it always going to be an increase? It so happen that this day it is going upward, but not always, so maybe that wording there is a little bit optimistic; perhaps a better heading here might be "%ProfitChange". We're not going to have any number whatsoever in the January column, but in February we will, because this involves comparing what's happened over a two-month period.

Creating a percentage-increase formula

In this worksheet we might want to calculate how much our Profits have changed month by month. We can certainly do this with the Overhead numbers and also of course with the Sales too. Let's say we want to focus on Profits. Now, is it always going to be an increase? It so happen that this day it is going upward, but not always, so maybe that wording there is a little bit optimistic; perhaps a better heading here might be "%ProfitChange". We're not going to have any number whatsoever in the January column, but in February we will, because this involves comparing what's happened over a two-month period.

How much has the Profit percent gone up, we hope, or possibly gone down over these two months? It has gone up. How do we make this calculation? This may or may not be bringing back fond memories of high school math. You probably learned that back then, but do you use this capability all the time? Maybe not. It's relatively straightforward formula, but it does bring up a major issue with Excel formulas. Let's talk about how we do this. To calculate the %ProfitChange, we need to first figure out how much change has occurred.

We need to subtract these two and then divide by the starting point. In other words, the difference is 10, we'll divide it by 20, this represents 50% growth and that's what we hope to see in our Formula here. Let's do the subtraction first, equal the February entry minus the January entry, and then divide that by the January entry. We're expecting to see 50% or .5, something like that, and it comes as quite a shock when you see a number like this.

We're getting to the heart of the issue of what happens in Excel when you write a formula? What does Excel do first? If we're thinking standard calculators, well, we do the addition first, then the division, but in Excel that's not the case. Excel refers to what's called a "hierarchy of operations". What you see in column A, starting in row 8, is not something you're likely to see on your screen, but it does represent the hierarchy of actions. In performing this calculation, Excel, first of all looks down the list-- what's the first symbol in the list that's in the formula? Division, so this happens first, B4 divided by B4 is one, what's C4 equal to? That's 30, 30 minus 1, that's why we get the 29.

What we want to have happened first is the subtraction, so we put it in parentheses. And of all the mistakes you might make in writing Excel formulas, this is certainly one of the most common. You either forget to use parentheses or possibly you use them in the wrong order. By entering the formula this way, Excel in effect is saying, "All right, I see parentheses, I'll go there and do what's inside of them first, then I'll get to the division later". Now, we will get the subtraction done first, that's 10 divide by B4 which is 20, .5 is our answer, that's what we would expect.

On the Home Tab to make this even better, let's use the % button, it's found in the number group here to display 50%. This formula deals with the two cells up in row four in that order. We would expect this formula to deal with these two cells and this formula with these two cells and so on. As we drag this rightward in the column June, we get our answers. Keep in mind these are not always positive, they are in this case, so far, but if our April Overhead number gets adjusted to be 240, that's certainly not a positive number.

If your Profits go from 50 down to 10, they're down by 80%, so that's going to happen from time to time; but the main idea here is to recognize that when we are writing formulas--I almost want to say that whenever you have a mistake in a formula where you know the answer is dead wrong--first thing to look for is missing parentheses or misuse of parentheses. Excel operates on what's called the hierarchy of operations. Profit Change as it would be properly labeled here, is just an example of that issue and it's going to come up from time to time as you work with Excel formulas.

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This video is part of

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Excel 2013 Essential Training

82 video lessons · 69654 viewers

Dennis Taylor
Author

 
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  1. 1m 6s
    1. Welcome
      43s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 29m 37s
    1. What is Excel used for?
      1m 49s
    2. Using the menu system
      4m 30s
    3. The Quick Access Toolbar
      4m 41s
    4. The structure of a worksheet or workbook
      3m 41s
    5. Using the Formula bar
      1m 43s
    6. Using the Status bar
      2m 24s
    7. Navigation and mouse pointers
      2m 20s
    8. Shortcut menus and the Mini toolbar
      3m 24s
    9. Using the built-in help
      2m 54s
    10. Creating new files
      2m 11s
  3. 24m 1s
    1. Exploring data entry and editing techniques
      4m 41s
    2. Entering data with AutoFill
      4m 6s
    3. Working with dates and times
      3m 32s
    4. Using Undo and Redo
      4m 50s
    5. Adding comments
      2m 55s
    6. Using Save or Save As
      3m 57s
  4. 30m 7s
    1. Creating simple formulas: Totals and averages
      5m 25s
    2. Copying a formula for adjacent cells
      2m 54s
    3. Calculating year-to-date profits
      3m 9s
    4. Creating a percentage-increase formula
      4m 7s
    5. Working with relative, absolute, and mixed references
      4m 7s
    6. Using SUM and AVERAGE
      3m 25s
    7. Using other common functions
      7m 0s
  5. 46m 7s
    1. Exploring font styles and effects
      4m 7s
    2. Adjusting row heights and column widths
      3m 37s
    3. Working with alignment and Wrap Text
      4m 2s
    4. Designing borders
      3m 26s
    5. Exploring numeric and special formatting
      5m 36s
    6. Formatting numbers and dates
      4m 31s
    7. Conditional formatting
      4m 21s
    8. Creating and using tables
      9m 59s
    9. Inserting shapes, arrows, and other visual features
      6m 28s
  6. 20m 40s
    1. Inserting and deleting rows and columns
      4m 52s
    2. Hiding and unhiding rows and columns
      4m 2s
    3. Moving, copying, and inserting data
      5m 42s
    4. Finding and replacing data
      6m 4s
  7. 17m 51s
    1. Exploring the Page Layout tab and view
      7m 20s
    2. Previewing page breaks
      4m 56s
    3. Working with Page Setup and printing controls
      5m 35s
  8. 30m 30s
    1. Creating charts
      4m 36s
    2. Exploring chart types
      7m 47s
    3. Formatting charts
      5m 42s
    4. Working with axes, labels, gridlines, and other chart elements
      5m 35s
    5. Creating in-cell charts with sparklines
      6m 50s
  9. 12m 49s
    1. Freezing and unfreezing panes
      2m 39s
    2. Splitting screens horizontally and vertically
      4m 48s
    3. Showing necessary information with the Outlining feature
      5m 22s
  10. 23m 0s
    1. Displaying multiple worksheets and workbooks
      4m 17s
    2. Renaming, inserting, and deleting sheets
      2m 23s
    3. Moving, copying, and grouping sheets
      3m 39s
    4. Using formulas to link worksheets and workbooks
      6m 1s
    5. Locating and maintaining links
      6m 40s
  11. 20m 25s
    1. Using IF functions and relational operators
      3m 43s
    2. Getting approximate table data with the VLOOKUP function
      7m 6s
    3. Getting exact table data with the VLOOKUP function
      4m 42s
    4. Using the COUNTIF family of functions
      4m 54s
  12. 23m 50s
    1. Unlocking cells and protecting worksheets
      7m 50s
    2. Protecting workbooks
      2m 40s
    3. Assigning passwords to workbooks
      4m 41s
    4. Sharing workbooks
      4m 7s
    5. Tracking changes
      4m 32s
  13. 28m 32s
    1. Sorting data
      6m 9s
    2. Inserting subtotals in a sorted list
      8m 25s
    3. Using filters
      6m 16s
    4. Splitting data into multiple columns
      5m 4s
    5. Removing duplicate records
      2m 38s
  14. 35m 2s
    1. Creating PivotTables
      8m 36s
    2. Manipulating PivotTable data
      9m 47s
    3. Grouping by date and time
      6m 0s
    4. Grouping by other factors
      2m 33s
    5. Using slicers to clarify and manipulate fields
      4m 7s
    6. Using PivotCharts
      3m 59s
  15. 23m 29s
    1. Using Goal Seek
      6m 8s
    2. Using Solver
      6m 34s
    3. Using Scenario Manager
      6m 11s
    4. Using Data Tables
      4m 36s
  16. 24m 31s
    1. Definition and examples
      6m 48s
    2. Creating a simple macro
      7m 0s
    3. Running a macro
      10m 43s
  17. 29s
    1. Next steps
      29s

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