Name

Excel Sum Function

There are plenty of ways to add numbers in Excel. You can use the basic "+" operator, but if you want to get fancy you can use the SUM function to add several numbers, or a range of numbers, quickly and efficiently with a smaller chance of error.


Using the SUM Function in Excel

A B C D E
1
2 5 8
3
4

All functions and formulas begin with a "=" to let Excel know it's a function, and not just text. You can add the numbers simply with =B2+D2. However, you can also use the SUM function which finds the sum of all arguments, or values inside the function separated by commas.

=SUM(B2, D2)

This formula lets you add as many arguments as you want, so you can keep adding arguments to the function above, and the function will return the sum of all of the arguments. However, if you want to find the sum of many cells, it can be more efficient to pass a range of cells to the SUM function.



Using the SUM Function on a Range of Cells

A B C D E
1
2 5 4 8 2
3
4

You can quickly add an entire range of cells using a colon. For example, to add each cell from B2 to E2, you would use the SUM function with a single range argument B2:E2.

=SUM(B2:E2)


More Range Options

A B C D E
1
2 5 4 8
3 3 7 5
4 9 0 2

You can use functions with different types of cell ranges. In addition to the B2:E2 mentioned above, you can also use ranges across multiple rows

=SUM(B2:B4)

You can even use a range across multiple rows and across multiple columns. To add every number in the table above, you can use

=SUM(B2:D4)

Excel Exercises with SUM Formulas

As with all shortcuts and formulas, the best way to improve is to try as many hands-on practice exercises as possible. The more repetitions you get, the more quickly and naturally you'll be able to use them in your everyday work.

Try some Excel Exercises with the SUM function now!