How to Calculate Percent Error in Google Sheets (With Example)


Percent error is the difference between a measured value and a known or accepted value.

You can use the following formula to calculate percent error:

Percent error = |(known value – measured value) / known value| * 100

The larger the percent error, the greater the difference between a measured value and a known value.

For example, suppose the height of some building is known to be exactly 30 feet but you measure it yourself and declare it to have a height of 29.4 feet.

The percent error of your measurement would be calculated as:

  • Percent error = |(known value – measured value) / known value| * 100
  • Percent error = |(30 – 29.4) / 30| * 100
  • Percent error = .02 * 100
  • Percent error = 2%

The percent error between the known height of the building and your measured height of the building is 2%.

The following example shows how to calculate percent error in Google Sheets.

Example: How to Calculate Percent Error in Google Sheets

To calculate percent error in Google Sheets, you must type the known value in one cell and your measured value in another cell.

For example, we will type our known height of 30 in cell A2 and our measured height of 29.4 in cell B2:

We can then type the following formula into cell C2 to calculate the percent error of our measurement:

=ABS((A2-B2)/A2)*100

The following screenshot shows how to use this formula in practice:

percent error in Google Sheets

The formula returns 2, which tells us the percent error between the known value and the measured value is 2%.

If you would like to display the percentage symbol in the result, you can type the following formula into cell C2 instead:

=ABS((A2-B2)/A2)*100

This will return .02 as a result.

You can then select cell C2 and then click the % icon along the top menu to display the result of the formula in a percentage format:

Additional Resources

The following tutorials explain how to perform other common tasks in Google Sheets:

How to Calculate Accuracy Percentage in Google Sheets
How to Calculate Percent Complete in Google Sheets
How to Calculate Percentile Rank in Google Sheets

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