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How to Calculate Percentage Change from Google Sheets

In the business world, it’s important to stay on top of percentage changes. Whether you’re tracking the growth of your business or determining how much you’ll earn from a new investment, percentage changes can be critical factors in making informed decisions.

Fortunately, Google Sheets makes it easy to calculate percentage changes quickly and easily. This guide will show you how to do it in a few simple steps. Let us begin.

Calculation of percentage change

To calculate the percentage change between two numbers, subtract the first number from the second, then divide the result by the first number. The resulting decimal is multiplied by 100 to give the percentage change in increase or decrease as a whole number.

For example, if a variable increases from 10 to 15, the percentage change can be calculated by subtracting 10 from 15 (15-10=5) and then dividing 5 by 10 (5/10=0.5). This gives 0.5, which, when multiplied by 100, gives 50 (0.5*100=50). Therefore, there is a 50 percent increase from 10 to 15.

The same principles apply when calculating a decrease. Simply reverse the order of the numbers when subtracting to get a negative result instead of a positive one.

For example, if the variable decreases from 15 to 10, the percentage change can be calculated by subtracting 15 from 10 (10-15=minus 5) and then dividing minus 5 by 15 (minus 5/15=minus 0.3333). This gives minus 0.3333, which, when multiplied by 100, gives 33.33 (0.3333*100=33.33). Therefore, there is a decrease of 33.33 percent from 15 to 10.

Calculating percentage change in google sheets using the simple approach

The simplest method to calculate percentage change in Google Sheets is as follows.

  1. Open Google Sheets and create a new sheet.
  2. Enter your data on the sheet. For this example, we’ll use ten-year sales numbers, with the most recent year’s sales on the left.
  3. In a new column, calculate the percentage change from the first year. To do this, use the formula “=(B2-B1)/B1”, where B1 are the sales of the second year and B2 are the sales of the first year.
  4. Press “Enter” to generate the percentage change for the second year.
  5. Use the drag fill handler to automatically fill in percentage changes for the remaining period.

Now you can see at a glance how much your sales have increased or decreased each year.

The problem with this method is that it does not calculate the percentage change in real percentages, but in decimals.

So, for example, if B2 (first year sales) is 10 and B1 (second year sales) is 15, the percentage change will be 0.5. You will need to convert this to 50% manually.

Calculating percentage change in Google Sheets using the TO_PERCENT function

The TO_Percent function is a useful tool for calculating the percentage change in your data. One of the great things about this approach is that it overcomes the weakness of the simple approach we discussed earlier by automatically converting changes from one cell to the next into actual percentages. This is convenient and makes it easier to understand and interpret the data.

Here are the steps to calculate the percentage change using the TO_PERCENT function. Once again, we assume that we have sales figures for ten years.

  1. open a new google sheet and enter your data.
  2. In a new column, use the formula “=TO_PERCENT((B2-B1)/B1)“, where B2 are the sales of the first year and B1 the sales of the second year.
  3. Press “Enter”. This will give you the percentage change for the second year.
  4. Drag the fill handle across the remaining cells in the percentage column to automatically calculate the remaining percentage changes.

So, for example, if B2 is 15 and B1 is 10, the percentage change will be given as 50%.

Percentage change compared to a cell in Google Sheets

In most cases, we are interested in the percentage change from one period, say one year, to another, with the reference always being the period before the current one. For example, when calculating the percentage change for the second year, the reference is the first year, while the reference for the percentage change in the third year is the second year.

But what if you want to use the same reference to calculate the percentage change in all years? You may want to calculate the percentage change based only on the first year. To do this, you must make the cell that contains the revenue (sales) for the first year a reference cell by adding the “$” sign before the column letter and row number.

Using the TO_PERCENT function to do your calculations, this is what the formula for the percentage change in the first year would look like.

=TO_PERCENT((B2-$B$1)/$B$1)

You can still automatically fill in the percentage change in the remaining years using the drag fill handler, but the reference cell will be B1 at all times.

Track progress using percent change

Percent change is a relatively simple concept that can be useful when you want to track progress. For example, you might want to track how your sales compare from month to month, or you might want to compare the percentage gain on two different stock prices over time.

To calculate the percentage change, you can use a simple formula. And thanks to the drag fill controller, you don’t need to calculate the percentage change for all periods. Just use the first result to automatically fill in all remaining cells.

Have you tried calculating percentage change in Google Sheets using the methods discussed in this article? If not, give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments section below.

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