Many Ways to Sum a Column in Excel


Key to Instructions
To help readers follow the instructions in this article, we use two different typefaces.
Boldface type identifies the names of icons, agendas, URLs and application commands.
Sans serif type indicates instructions and commands that users should type and file names.

Q. One of my colleagues told me there are a hundred ways to add numbers in Excel. Is that true?

A. There are quite a few ways, but a hundred may be an exaggeration. Here are my favorites—one using keystrokes and the other using the mouse:

Keystrokes: If you want to get the sum of cells B5 to B12, you could use the slow way by writing out the full formula:

=sum(B5:B12)

Or you could evoke the shortcut and click on B13, hold down the Alt key, type in = and then press Enter.

Mouse: Place your cursor on B13 (one cell below the column you are adding) and click on the AutoSum icon: , producing this screen (notice the shortcut actually generates the same full formula):

Then press Enter.

While you’re at the AutoSum icon, click on the adjacent arrow and take note of the other quick functions you can perform (see screenshot below left). It’s a very handy button.

And you’ll find even more helpful functions if you click on More Functions (see result in screenshot at right).

 

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