Ways To Add In Excel

Today I want to address perhaps the most basic tasks in Excel… Adding cells.

To add numbers in two or more cells in Excel you need to create a formula.

The most basic way to add two or more cells is to use an addition formula. In this example I want to add the numbers in cells A2 B2 C2 D2 and E2. I start my formula with an equal sign. I then reference each cell and place the addition sign between each cell reference.

If I wanted to add cells A2 and B2, my formula would be =A2+B2. To add all 5 cells, I use the formula =A2+B2+C2+D2+E2.

Addition Results

Now this is not the only way to add numbers. I can use cell references to help add clarity to my formula. Ask yourself what is easier to understand… =A2+B2 or =Sales + Tax? I can name individual cells or an entire range of cells. Then I can reference these names in my formula.

In this example I have selected cells A1 B1 C1 D1 and E1. I then typed RowsToAdd in the name box. This name now references this “Range of Cells” and I can use that name in formulas. =SUM(RowsToAdd).

Now in both of these examples I start my formula with the equal sign. However in the second formula I use the Sum function. The Sum function allows me to add all the cells within a range that I specify. In this example, =SUM(A1:E1) and =SUM(RowsToAdd) are the same. I am adding cells A1 B1 C1 D1 and E1. However I don’t need to list all the cells in between. The Sum function takes all the cells between my starting cell and ending cell. The Sum function is really handy when you want to add hundreds or thousands of cells to add.

I can also use the AutoSum feature to add cells. Simply highlight the cells that you wish to add together and click the AutoSum button on the Home table of the Ribbon (Excel 2007) under editing. If you don’t highlight the cells, Auto Sum will automatically select the closest range of data cells based on the following rules.

1.     The uninterrupted group of cells that has data above the active cell.
T   The uninterrupted group of cells that has data to the left of the active cell.
If there is no data in the cells above or to the left, Auto Sum will wait for you to select the cells to sum.

It’s always good idea to verify the cells selected whenever you use Auto Sum.

I can also quickly get the sum of cells by referencing the Status Bar. Select a range of cells then look at the sum in the bottom-right hand corner of the Excel window and the status bar will display the result.

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