How to Do a Running Count on an Excel Spreadsheet

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Excel 2010 spreadsheets are made up of numerous cells where you can input information. You can then use one of the numerous mathematical functions available in the program to process your data and give you a result. The ability to add values together to get a total is perhaps one of the simplest functions that Excel can do, but when you need a running total, where each result is based on the prior one, setting up the function may not be as obvious.

  • Double-click on the Excel file to open up the spreadsheet. Select your desired worksheet from the list of worksheets at the bottom of the page.

  • Select the cell located directly to the right of the top cell in the column you want to count. If you are counting single text entries, like a list of text entries, place a "1" in this cell. If your running count is going to add together a list of numbers, press the "=" button to start a formula, then select the cell to the left of the current one and press enter. The number in the list you are counting will be duplicated in the running count column.

  • Select the second cell in the running count column, located directly underneath the cell containing your formula. Press the "=" button to start a new formula in this cell. Select the cell above the current one and then press the "+" button. If you are counting single text entries, enter the number "1" and press enter. If you are adding a list of numbers, select the cell directly to the left of the one you are currently adding a formula to, and press enter. You will see a number appear in the call that is equal to the sum of the first two entries in the column you are counting.

  • Select the cell you just created your formula in. Move your mouse pointer to the bottom-right corner of that cell, where it turns into a plus sign. Click and hold down the mouse button, then drag the mouse down until you reach the last row where you want the running count to finish. Release the mouse button and the formula will be copied down the column to that row, with each cell containing a running count of the column to the left.

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