Excel percentage formulas can get you through problems large and small every day—from determining sales tax (and tips) to calculating increases and decreases. We’ll walk through several examples below: turning fractions to percentages; backing sales tax out of totals; percentage of total; percentage increase or decrease; and percentage of completion.

Turning fractions to percentages

Percentages are a portion (or fraction) of 100. The math to determine a percentage is to divide the numerator (the number on top of the fraction) by the denominator (the number on the bottom of the fraction), then multiply the answer by 100. For example, the fraction 6/12 turns into a decimal like this: 6 divided by 12 (which equals .5) times 100 equals 50 percent.

In Excel, you don’t need a formula to convert a fraction to a percent—just a Format change. For example:

1. Enter 10 fractions in column A (from A2 through A11). (Note: Excel automatically reduces fractions to their lowest terms, such as changing 6/10 to 3/5.)

Because the Excel default is decimal, you’ll need to highlight the range and format it for Fractions. Here’s how:

2. Copy the fractions in column A to Column B.

3. Highlight that range and go to the Home tab. Select Percentage from the dropdown list in the Number Formats field.

Note: You can also select Format Cells from the Format button in the Cells group.

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