Sum highlights for you

BY J. CARLTON COLLINS, CPA

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.

 

SPONSORED REPORT

Revenue recognition: A complex effort

Implementing the new standard requires careful judgment. Learn how to make significant accounting judgments and document them and collaborate with peers for consistent application.

TECHNOLOGY Q&A

How to create maps in Excel 2016

Microsoft Excel 2016 has two new mapping capabilities. J. Carlton Collins, CPA, demonstrates how to make masterful 2D and 3D maps in Excel 2016.

QUIZ

News quiz: Economy and health care changes top CPAs’ list

CPA decision-makers’ economic outlook and the House Republicans’ proposed tax changes as part of replacing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act received attention recently. See how much you know with this short quiz.