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# How do you calculate a percentage change in Excel if one of the numbers is negative?

Updated: 4/28/2022

Wiki User

15y ago

First, reality... o=original old number n=New number 1. Two formulas are mathematically the same, but one is easier. f-o/o and f/o-1 (f/o-1 is much easier because it follows the order of operations) 2. Problems arise due to negative numbers and zeros. 2a. Negative numbers in Original -> =f/o*SIGN(o)-1 -> this flips the answer to make it right if o is negative. 2b. Zeros in Original (or other errors)-> =IF(ISERR(f/o),0,f/o*SIGN(o)-1) 3. Don't do anything silly like multiply by 100 to get percent. Use excel format.

Wiki User

15y ago

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Q: How do you calculate a percentage change in Excel if one of the numbers is negative?
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### How do you calculate percentage change when calculating negative profits?

Do not calculate percentage changes when the numbers are negative since they are extremely difficult to interpret. The change from +100 to -100 is -200% The change from -100 to +100 is also -200%. The percentage changes are the same but the underlying change is completely different.

### How do you calculate percentage growth if the previous amount is a negative amount?

You do not. Percentage change (increase or decrease) makes sense only if both numbers are positive or both are negative. Consider the change from -50 to +50. You could calculate the percentage change as 100*(new-old)/old = -200% Now consider the percentage change from +50 to -50. -200% again! So, in percentage terms a change from +50 to -50 is the same as from -50 to +50.

### How do you calculate difference between a negative percentage and positive percentage?

You calculate the change in percentage points. Thus, the change from -5% to 7% is a change (increase) of 12 percentage points.Do not try to calculate it as a percentage change. The change from -50 to 50 is 100*100/(-50) works out as -200% while the change from 50 to -50 is 100*(-100)/50 = -200%. One goes up, the other goes down but the % change is the same!

### Why do you need to calculate percentage change in an experiment?

To find the difference between the two numbers in percent form

### What is the formula to calculate the change percentage between to numbers?

(new-old)/old *100ORold/new-1

### What is the percentage increase from -56 to 16?

Percentage changes are meaningless if either of the numbers (before or after the change) is negative. This is because the calculated percentage change from -56 to 16 is the same as the percentage change from +56 to -16 - even though in the first case the amount is increasing and in the second it is decreasing.

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### How do you calculate a percentage change in excel if one number is negative?

To find the percentage change, you divide the change from initial to final by the absolute value of the initial value and then multiply by 100%. As an example: if the initial value is in cell A1 and the final value is in cell A2, the formula for percent change would be: =(A2-A1)/ABS(A1). You can EITHER multiply that value by 100 to get the percentage OR format the cell to display the number as a percentage. If the original number is negative and the final number is less (even more negative) - this makes the percentage change negative. If the original number is negative and the final number still negative but greater (closer to zero) then this would be an increase even though it would be less negative so the percent change would be positive. If the original number is negative and the final number zero or positive, this would still constitute an increase so the percentage change would be positive. If the initial number was positive and the final number negative, then this would be a pretty obvious decrease and the percentage change would be negative.

### How do you calculate a percentage change increase or decrease?

the new value minus the old value, then divide it by the old value, times 100%, if the value is positive, it's the percentage increase, if it's negative, it's the percentage decrease.