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TECHNOLOGY Q&A

Sum highlights for you

 

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA
December 2012

Q: I was disappointed to find that Excel’s AutoSum tool produced an error in my workbook, which I did not catch until it was too late. The problem resulted when I highlighted row 15 (as pictured below), and then clicked the AutoSum tool to insert formula totals at the bottom of each column.

Because cell B3 was empty, the AutoSum tool detected data only in rows 4 through 14 and inserted erroneous total formulas, which did not include the data from rows 2 and 3. This error was embarrassing. Is there a way to use the AutoSum tool so that it doesn’t make this kind of error?

A: In your example, you left it up to Excel’s AutoSum tool to guess the range you wanted to sum, and as you pointed out, the results contained formula errors. In the future, you can force the AutoSum tool to select the correct sum range every time by highlighting the data range to be summed and then clicking the AutoSum tool located in the Editing group on the Home tab.

 

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