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Published at Mon Aug 05 2024 in
For Teams

# How to Subtract in Google Sheets: Step-by-Step Guide [2024]

Alberto Manassero, Product Growth Manager, Rows

Whether you are managing a marketing budget, calculating salary costs, analyzing sales trends, or calculating tax deductions, understanding how to subtract numbers in Google Sheets can save you time and reduce errors from human calculations.

This comprehensive guide is designed to walk you through subtracting in Google Sheets, from basic formulas to more advanced techniques. We'll cover:

## How to use the subtract function on Google Sheets?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to subtracting in Google Sheets; below are a couple of methods you can use to subtract in Google Sheets.

### Method 1: How to subtract in Google Sheets using the basic minus sign method

This is the first and most basic method of subtracting in Google Sheets. Follow the steps below;

After importing or ingesting your data, ensure it is well prepared and that all elements in the columns you want to use have numerical values.

• Step 2: Select an empty cell. In this selected cell, you have the result of your subtraction.

Afterward, input the minus sign syntax, which is;

An equal sign first = plus the first number, then a minus sign and the second number.

Here’s an example: `=(10-8)`

Or use the cell references which can be A1, B1,C1 as the case maybe.

## The spreadsheet where data comes to life

### Method 2: How to subtract in Google Sheets Using the MINUS function

In this method, we'll be using the MINUS function to perform subtraction. The syntax for this function is:

=MINUS(value1, value2)

Following the same steps as the first method, on the selected cell, input the MINUS formula

Here’s an example:

And just perhaps, you don't want to waste much time subtracting multiple numbers together manually, and Google Sheets offers an autofill feature that automatically generates the subtracted value of other cell references in the data set.

### Method 3: How to subtract in Google Sheets Using the SUM function

The SUM function in Excel or Google Sheets adds up all the numbers provided within the specified range of cells or individual cells. The syntax is:=SUM(number1 —  [number2], …)

For this example, we are using C2 and D2 — =SUM(C2-D2)

Here's the result after entering the syntax:

### Method 4: How to subtract in Google Sheets using the ARRAY function

The ARRAY FORMULA function processes an array of data and applies a specified formula to each element. The syntax is: ARRAY FORMULA(array_formula)

To perform subtraction across these ranges, use the ARRAY FORMULA function to subtract each element in Column B from the corresponding element in Column A.

For the remainder of this example, we take note of the values of the C and D columns, respectively.

I've also included all cell ranges in the ARRAY FORMULA  for data analysis.

After typing the syntax, select the enter tab on your keyboard.

## What are the Drawbacks of using Subtract on Gsheets?

While Google Sheets is a good option for creating tables, it still has its drawbacks; below are the drawbacks:

### Automation Limitations

- There's no built-in macro recorder for automating repetitive subtraction operations.

- Complex subtraction workflows often require custom scripting in Google Apps Script, which may be challenging for non-programmers.

### Error-prone

Google Sheets uses a double-precision floating-point format, which can lead to precision errors when dealing with vast numbers or many decimal places. This limitation can affect the accuracy of subtraction operations involving such numbers.

### Untidy UI

Google Sheets' user interface, while functional, can become cluttered and difficult to navigate when working with complex subtraction operations:

## How Use Rows for Subtract Function?

Rows is a comprehensive spreadsheet for modern teams that offers better UX for data ingestion and has native AI capabilities (AI analyst, AI-generated subtitles, native AI functions.

### How to do basic subtraction operation in Rows

You can use the three methods I discussed above to carry out subtractions on your spreadsheet in Rows.

Before you start, prepare the data on your spreadsheet — say, you are trying to analyze the profitability of different marketing campaigns — that is calculating the  difference between revenue and costs.

So, it's pretty easy.

• Step 1: Using the minus sign method.

• Step 2: Using the MINUS formula.

• Step 3: Using the SUM method to get the subtracted value indirectly.

Access the power of AI to analyze, summarize and transform data. Build better spreadsheets, faster.

## How does Rows compare with Google Sheets?

The standout feature of Rows over Google Sheets when it comes to carrying out subtraction or any mathematical/statistical operations is that it has —

### The AI analyst ✨

This automation feature makes it so much easier for you to:

• Have focused data: By creating pivot tables with the AI analyst, you can easily have a view of the cell references you want to abstract.

In the following example, the Analyst slices the main table by highlighting the top keywords by clicks.

The table is generated using live data from Google Search Console. To discover more about Rows data ingestion capabilities, keep on reading.

• Secondly, you can ask to perform mathematical or statistical operations, and the AI  will return either a metric in the Quick Insights or a new table in the Deep Dive section. With a few clicks, you can get the differentiated value of each aggregated data.

Here's an example below:

Other stand-out features of Rows over Google Sheets include:

### Data ingestion

You are a marketer, a product manager, or a data analyst, and chances are you frequently import data from various data sources for analytical and reporting purposes. This process can be particularly time-consuming due to the manual tasks involved and the need to check for potential data discrepancies.

With Rows, you can import live data from 50+ sources thanks to built-in API data integrations in various domains:

• Marketing: GA4, GSC, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc.

• Productivity software: OpenAI, Notion, Slack, Email, Translate

• Data Warehouse: MySQL, BigQuery, PostgreSQL, Snowflake,  Amazon Redshift

• And many more.

The example below shows how to import live data from a Notion database:

### Embed feature

You can use the Embed feature to display your Rows’ tables and charts inside Notion. You can embed any element from a spreadsheet - a Table, Chart, or Form - and have a live connection between your Notion doc and Rows spreadsheet.

• Choose Embed in the settings menu in the right-hand corner of the element you want to embed.

• Click the Share Privately toggle.