Learning how to calculate percentage is one of the most basic things you learn in math classes. Wasn’t listening attentively in class? Or simply want the easy way out and use an online percentage calculator?
Fret not! HowToSG is here to save the day!
Note: There are numerous ways to calculate percentages, but we will be using the easiest way to illustrate the definition of it.
Percent directly translates to “per hundred” where the word Cent is an old European word with some associations to French, Latin and Italian languages.
Image Source: Kate's Math Lessons
If we had to describe it in layman terms, percent is simply a 1100fraction. It is simply a fraction of a hundred. Alternatively, you can visualise a percent in decimal as well, where 1% equals to 0.01.
That means when you express a certain number or amount as a percentage, you would state how many parts of the second number/amount would have if the first number has a hundred equal parts.
For example, when expressing the number one thousand as a percentage and comparing it with another number eight hundred, each of the hundred parts of one thousand would give you a solid ten per part, or in other words, 1% of one thousand. With that information in mind, eight hundred would have eighty parts of ten, or 80% of one thousand.
Image Source: Jakub Marian
To do this fast, simply place the second number over the first number in a fraction, multiplied by 100%. This would give you a quick percentage calculation of the second number in comparison to the first.
Equation: 800/1000 x 100% = 80%
Now we know how to calculate percentages when comparing two numbers, calculating percentage increase is a piece of cake!
It is important to know that percentage increase is calculated only when an initial number changes and is different from before. There won’t be any percentage increase or decrease if the initial number and the end value are the same exact value.
Image Source: Andymath
If your initial number and end value are different, the first step is to subtract the two numbers and find the difference.
Let’s use the numbers fifty and seventy for our start and end values respectively.
Subtracting the two numbers would give us a difference of twenty (+20).
Next, use the quick percentage calculation mentioned earlier and you will get a percentage increase of 40%.
Equation: (70-50)/50 x 100% = 40%
Too lazy to do it yourself? Here’s an online percentage calculator at your disposal.
Keep in mind that an online percentage calculator is, however, inferior when it comes to bulk calculations of percentages. For that, you would need Excel (keep reading to find out more).
Calculating percentages may be easy once you get the hang of it, but doing hundreds of them manually is simply too laborious and time-consuming.
And in the age of modern technology, it simply does not make sense when you have Microsoft Excel to do it all for you.
To let Excel do the work for you, simply paste the numbers in columns A and B respectively.
Let’s say the numbers are placed in Cells A1 and B1, you may type in any other cell the following formula: =B1/A1, where A1 is the whole amount of 100%.
You may notice that the number generated by Excel is not expressed as a percentage. If so, Select the calculation cell > Right-Click > Format Cells > Select Percentage > Press Okay.
The number will now be formatted as a percentage and you can easily replicate the formula by dragging the fill handle downward and use the format painter tool to apply the percentage format to all other comparisons.
Percentages are used in so many real-world applications that it has formed an important part of how we work and analyse numbers.
Image Source: Bloomberg
It can be used for both retrospective (analytics) and prospective (setting target goals with fixed percentages) functions.
Be it managing your monthly spendings, analysing a stock’s performance, or merely using it to solve complex equations in your statistics exams, percentages are everywhere and no one is spared from learning how to calculate percentage.
To sum it all up, percentages are so useful that there is a whole arsenal of percentage memes on the internet.
Heads up, you must understand the fundamentals of the percentage to comprehend these high IQ memes.