7 Ways to Sum in Excel

What was the first function that you learned in Excel – if you can remember that far back?

I’ll bet it was the SUM function. There’s an AutoSum button on the Ribbon that makes it very easy to put a total – just select a blank cell below a column of numbers, and click that button.

7 Ways to Sum in Excel http://blog.contextures.com/

The Old Auto-sum Button

Back in the old days, when our computers ran on coal, it was called the Auto-sum button. Here’s a photo from my Macintosh Excel V 3.0 Quick Reference, that shows Auto-sum’s central location on the toolbar, and a few of the other buttons. Apparently Styles and Outlining were popular back then, and had prominent spots on the toolbar.

If you’d like to see the rest of the old toolbar, there are more images at the end of this article.

Auto-sum button in Excel 3.0

Other Ways to Sum

Of course, there are many other ways to calculate a sum in Excel. You can use the + operator, or other functions, such as SUMIF, SUMIFS, and SUBTOTAL.

With some functions, such as SUMIF, you can combine criteria with wildcard characters (*) or operators (>=), to make the formulas more flexible.


Video: 7 Ways to Sum in Excel

Watch this video to see 7 different ways that you can use functions to Sum in Excel. Included are simple examples of the SUM, SUMIF, S7MIFS and SUBTOTAL functions.

Or, watch the video on my Contextures website: 7 Ways to Sum in Excel

Here’s what is covered in the video, with the approximate start times:

  • 00:00    Introduction
  • 00:09    1. Quick Grand Totals
  • 00:45    2. Sum Specific Cells
  • 01:56    3. Running Total
  • 03:28    4. Sum Specific Items
  • 04:41    5. Sum Partial Match
  • 06:21    6. Sum With Multiple Criteria
  • 07:46    7. Sum in Filtered List 
  • 09:27    Get the Sample File

Download the Sample File

To follow along with the video, go to the Excel Sum Functions page on my Contextures website and download the sample file. The zipped file is in xlsx format, and does not contain any macros.

The Excel 3.0 Window

The first image shows the Excel 3.0 (Macintosh) window, with the Menu bar, Tool bar, Formula bar and Reference area. When did “Reference area” change to “Name Box”? The picture is in black and white, and so was the display on my Macintosh.


Toolbar Buttons in Excel 3.0

The following photos show all of the toolbar buttons, as described in the Excel 3.0 (Macintosh) Quick Reference.

Formatting Tools


Outlining, Selection and Drawing tools


Other Tools, including Auto-sum



7 Ways to Sum in Excel http://blog.contextures.com/