Quickly sum columns or rows of numbers in Excel

Adding columns or rows of numbers is one of the most common actions in Excel. The SUM function provides a quick and easy way to perform this task on an Excel worksheet.

Remark † These instructions apply to Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, Excel 2019 for Mac, Excel 2016 for Mac, Excel for Mac 2011, Excel for Office 365, and Excel Online.

Contents
  1. Syntax and arguments of the SUM function
  2. Sum data in Excel with keyboard shortcuts
  3. Sum data in Excel with AutoSUM
  4. Using the SUM Function Dialog

Syntax and arguments of the SUM function

Function syntax refers to the layout of the function and includes the function name, parentheses, and arguments.

Syntax for the SUM function:

 = SUM (Number1, Number2, ... Number255) 

Number 1 (required) is the first value to be added. This argument can contain the data you want to summarize, or it can be a cell reference for the location of the data on the worksheet.

Number2, Number3, … Number255 (optional) are additional values ​​that must add up to a maximum of 255.

Sum data in Excel with keyboard shortcuts

Key combination to enter the SUM function:

 Alt + = 

Here’s how to access the SUM function using keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Select the cell for the amount and then hold . pressed alt on keyboard.

  2. press and release equal sign (=) on the keyboard without releasing the Alt key.

  3. Release the key alt † The SUM function appears in an active cell with an insertion point or cursor between a pair of empty parentheses. The parentheses contain the function argument (the range of cell references or numbers to be added).

  4. Enter the function argument:

    1. Using the pointer and mouse click to enter individual cell references

    2. Use mouse click and drag to select a continuous range of cells

    3. Enter numbers or cell references manually

  5. After entering the argument, press the key Enter on the keyboard to complete the function. The answer appears in the cell containing the function. When this cell is clicked, the completed SUM function appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

Speed ​​up data entry by entering individual cells and cell ranges correctly:

  • Individual references to individual cells are entered by typing or by specifying commas.

  • For a range of cell references that you enter by typing, you can separate the start and end cell references with a colon.

Sum data in Excel with AutoSUM

Use a shortcut AutoSUM on the Home tab of the Ribbon to complete the formula without typing.

The “Auto” part of the AutoSUM name refers to the method that automatically selects the range of cells to be summed by the function. The selected range is shaded and surrounded by an animated box known as marching ants.

The AutoSUM function must be entered at the bottom of a data column or at the right end of a data row. If you place the AutoSUM function elsewhere in the worksheet, the range of cells selected as the function’s argument may not be correct. To change the selected range, use the mouse pointer to highlight the appropriate range before pressing the key Enter to end the function.

To use AutoSUM:

  1. Click the cell where you want to display the result and click the icon AutoSUM on the tape.

  2. Make sure the selected range that will form the function argument is correct. If it is correct, press the key Enter on the keyboard to complete the function. The answer is displayed in the cell. When you click a cell that contains a solution, the completed SUM function appears in the formula bar above the worksheet.

Using the SUM Function Dialog

Most functions in Excel can be entered using a dialog box where you can enter arguments for the function on separate lines. The dialog also respects function syntax, such as opening and closing parentheses and commas used to separate individual arguments.

Although some numbers can be entered directly as arguments in the dialog box, it is usually better to enter data into worksheet cells and enter cell references as arguments to the function.

To enter the SUM function using a dialog box in Excel 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, or Excel for Mac:

  1. Click the cell where the results are displayed.

  2. Click on the tab formulas in the ribbon menu.

  3. Select Mathematics & Trig on the ribbon to open the features drop-down list.

  4. Click SUM in the list to open the function’s dialog box.

  5. Click on a line Number 1 in the dialog box.

  6. Highlight at least one cell reference or range of references.

  7. Click Okay to end the function and close the dialog box.

To enter the SUM function in all versions of Excel, including Excel Online:

  1. Click the cell where the results are displayed.

  2. Click Insert function to open the Insert Function dialog box.

  3. Select Mathematics and Triggers in the category list.

  4. Click SUM in the list to open the function’s dialog box.

  5. Click Okay

  6. Highlight at least one cell reference or range of references.

  7. Click Enter to complete the function

The answer appears in the selected cell and the formula for the SUM function appears in the formula bar.

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