7 Steps To Perfect Formulas PLUS Bonus Cheat Sheet: 15 Of The Best Starter Functions
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This post is all about using SUM.
When you are working with a lot of data, creating formulas manually can take a long time and is prone to mistakes.
There is a way to make formulas easier and quicker.
Prefer to watch instead of read?
Excel has over 450 pre-programmed functions. The simplest one that everybody learns first is SUM. SUM adds things up.
At the other end of the spectrum, the top-end functions are used by statisticians, mathematicians, engineers and scientists and tend to be quite specialised. However, there are still many that can be used by ‘ordinary’ folk!
can be replaced with
This is easier to read and easier to maintain.
To see the full benefit, scale it up. Imagine if you had to add up 25 cells. Or 1,000 cells!
Excel even does the hard work of setting it up for you. You are given a tool called AutoSum.
The AutoSum button is ideal for novices who wish to learn and use some simple Excel functions. The AutoSum button provides a list of the five basic functions – SUM, AVERAGE, COUNT, MIN and MAX. The icon is the Greek Sigma symbol and looks like a sideways ‘M’ or a crooked ‘E’ (see below).
Using Autosum is quick and easy.
A SUM function is created in the blank cell (the last cell of your selected cell range). The selected cells are added together and the total is calculated.
By default the AutoSum tool creates a SUM function, which adds together the values in the selected cells. To see what the SUM function looks like, click on the cell that contains the total and study the formula bar.
The SUM function may be typed directly into a cell, rather than using AutoSum. This is quicker for experienced users.
Here’s the process to use once you’re a bit more confident:
The structure of a SUM function is =SUM(number1, number 2 …) where each number may be a constant (e.g. 5), cell reference (e.g. A1) or cell range (e.g. A1:A3).
The following formulas are valid examples of the SUM function.
When you select more than one blank cell going across the sheet, Excel knows that you want to add up columns of data, so it doesn’t ask you and puts the total straight into the cells.
And when you click AutoSum, all the totals are generated in one hit. Imagine how much time you could save if you have 50 columns and 1,000 rows
I hope you have seen how useful, how easy and how versatile the SUM function is.
Knock up a simple spreadsheet, enter some data - whatever you like - and use the AutoSum to generate some totals quickly.
Once you’re confident doing that, try selecting a blank cell and creating a SUM function manually, by typing it directly into the cell.
In part 3, I discuss 4 other basic formula functions that are also useful and easy to use - AVERAGE, MAX, MIN and COUNT
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Cheers. Here's to your learning and success. Enjoy the rest of your day.
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