Percent change | CSE 148 – Excel Exam 1

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Percent change explained

For a second, imagine yourself as a kid again. You get an allowance each week and store it in your piggy bank.

Being the intelligent child that you are, you want to track how your weekly allowance is fluctuating. However, instead of just seeing the +/- in dollars, you want to see what percent your allowance is growing/shrinking.

The percent change formula enables us to monitor the changing of values over time.

Coding Percent change

Given the above situation, let's figure out how they calculated the percent change for each of the weekly allowances.

First, here is the formula for percent change:

=(new value - old value) / old value

Given this formula, let's start by calculating the percent change in allowance for Week 2.

Because Week 1 has no old value, only the new value of that week. We must have a new and old value to compute percent change.

The new value for Week 2 is Week 2's allowance, stored in cell B3.

=(B3 - old value) / old value

The old value is Week 1's allowance, stored in cell B2.

=(B3 - B2) / B2

When we plug this into our spreadsheet, we get the following result:

Perfect! To compute the percent change for the following weeks, just copy the formula to the rest of the weeks!

Practice problem

Given the following financial portfolio, determine the percent change in portfolio value from year to year.


This formula is then copied through each of the remaining values in the "Percent change" column.

Excel (Exam 1) Follow-along Guide

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As you come upon key concepts highlighted in yellow, like this sentence here, you can fill-in-the-blanks on your Follow-along Guide so that you remember all the important stuff for later!

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Next, let's learn how to create Excel charts to display data!

Free Resources

Each exam concept broken down in simple, real-world examples!

ToolsExcel (Exam 1) Follow-along Guide
LessonSUM & AutoSUM
LessonRelative vs. Absolute Cell References
LessonPercent change
LessonExcel charts
LessonImporting text files

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