The SUM function in Excel is the first one you learn. That's because one of the most common things you need to do in Excel is calculate a total.
In this post, you'll discover different ways to create a SUM function and different examples you can dissect.
1. Example 1: How to write a basic SUM function in Excel
Consider this simple data:
To calculate the total of these numbers using a SUM function:
1. Type =SUM(
2. Select cells A1:A5 with the mouse (you can type the cell range but then you may get human error)
3. Type the closing bracket and press Enter.
This calculates the total, 100.
2. Anatomy of a SUM function
- Every formula starts with '='.
- SUM tells Excel what to do, i.e. add up these numbers.
- The cells or cell ranges inside the brackets tell Excel what to add up.
Here are some examples:
3. Example 2: How to generate SUM using AutoSum
The AutoSUM button is the beginner's best friend. You'll find it on the Home ribbon.
1. Select the range of cells you wish to add up, or select the blank total cell.
2. Click the AutoSUM button (you can also click the AutoSUM dropdown arrow then choose SUM but that's an extra click!)
3. Excel writes the SUM function for you. Press Enter to lock it in.
4. Example 3: How to SUM up summed data in Excel
If you already have data that has been summed, you can add up these values too. In the example below, every 3 months the quarterly column has been created to total the data. Columns D and H contain SUM functions for each row.
To total up all the quarterly data, the SUM function refers to the cell ranges D2:D6 and H2:H6.
5. What next?
I hope you found plenty of value in this post. I'd love to hear your biggest takeaway in the comments below together with any questions you may have.
Have a fantastic day.
About the author
Jason loves to simplify the hard stuff, cut the fluff and share what actually works. Things that make a difference. Things that slash hours from your daily work tasks. He runs a software training business in Queensland, Australia, lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and 4 kids and often talks about himself in the third person!