Microsoft Excel

How to Use AutoSum in Excel to Quickly Add Rows or Columns

The SUM function lets users quickly add numbers from one or more ranges in a spreadsheet.

You can use the sum function by typing it into a cell or you can click the AutoSum button to have Excel enter the SUM function for you.

Calculate Totals Using the SUM Function

If you prefer to type the SUM function, it’s pretty easy to use. In this example, I clicked in cell B6, typed =SUM(B2:B5) and pressed Enter.

The SUM function

After entering the SUM function, you can copy it to the remaining cells in row 6.

SUM function copied to adjacent cells

If you don’t like typing formulas… that pesky equals sign and don’t get me started on the brackets! You can simply click AutoSum instead.

Where to Find AutoSum in Microsoft Excel

People calculate totals so often that Microsoft included the AutoSum button in two different places on the ribbon in Excel.

AutoSum is on the Home tab in the Home > Editing group. Another instance of the command exists on the Formulas tab in the Function Library group.

The AutoSum button

How Does AutoSum Work?

AutoSum is easy very to use. It can be used to sum a column or row.

When you select a cell then click AutoSum, Excel attempts to calculate a total for the column or row (above or to the left the selected cell).

How to Use AutoSum in Excel

OK… let’s get to the good part. Here is how to use AutoSum in Excel.

In the following example, I dragged to select cells F2:F6. Then I clicked the AutoSum button in the Home > Editing group. Excel automatically calculated totals for rows 2 – 6.

Using AutoSum to calculate totals

By Michael Belfry

Working as a full-time training consultant, Michael provides Microsoft Office courses to government and private sector clients across Canada.