How to Use Excel Auto Sum

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Excel's organized grid of spreadsheet cells and dizzying array of mathematical and analytical functions make the application one of the most advanced many users will ever encounter. It's also more advanced than many are interested in dealing with. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, if you prefer clicking to typing in formulas, Excel has you covered; you can click to build even complex formulas. To sum a column or row of figures, however, you don't even have to think about formulas; AutoSum will do the trick.

  • Open an Excel spreadsheet that contains numerical data to sum, or create a new spreadsheet.

  • Click once to move the cursor to a cell directly below or to the right of a series of numbers in one column or row. For example, if the data you want to add are in cells A1 through A10, place the cursor in cell A11. If they're in cells A1 through G1, place the cursor in H1.

  • Click the "AutoSum" button, which is in the Editing group, at the right of the Home tab. Clicking the button inserts the formula to add all of the values immediately above or to the left of the selected cell: A dashed outline appears to let you adjust or confirm the selection.

  • Press "Enter" to confirm or use the mouse to move the selection area, and then press "Enter."

Tips & Warnings

  • Select the cells to sum, alternatively, then click the "AutoSum" button. Excel will then place the sum formula in the cell that follows the last selected cell automatically. Select cells A1 through A10, for example, and Excel will place the formula in A11.
  • Click the arrow next to the AutoSum button to choose a different function: Average, Count, Min or Max.
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