How to Add in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners and Experts

Adding in Excel

Adding in Excel is a breeze once you get the hang of it. Whether you’re summing up a column of numbers or adding up specific cells, Excel offers several ways to get the job done. In this guide, we’ll walk you through different methods to add numbers in Excel, including using formulas and the autosum feature.

How to Add in Excel

We’re going to cover the most straightforward ways to add numbers in Excel. You’ll learn how to use the SUM function, the autosum feature, and even how to add numbers manually. By the end of this, you’ll be able to sum up data like a pro.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Spreadsheet

First, open your Excel spreadsheet where you want to add numbers.

Ensure you have a clear view of the sheet and the data you intend to add.

Step 2: Click on an Empty Cell

Next, click on an empty cell where you want the sum to appear.

It’s crucial to choose a cell that’s not already containing data, to avoid overwriting any existing information.

Step 3: Type the SUM Function

In the empty cell, type =SUM(.

The formula should start with an equal sign and the SUM function to indicate that you are performing an addition.

Step 4: Select the Range of Cells

Select the range of cells you wish to add by clicking and dragging over them. Close the formula with a closing parenthesis ) and press Enter. For example, =SUM(A1:A5).

Ensure that the cells you select contain numeric values to get an accurate sum.

Step 5: Use the Autosum Function

Alternatively, you can use the autosum function by selecting the cell where you want the sum, clicking on the ‘AutoSum’ button in the Home tab, and pressing Enter.

The autosum button is a shortcut that automatically generates the SUM formula for a selected range of cells.

After you complete these steps, you will see the total sum of the selected cells in the cell where you entered the formula or used the autosum function.

Tips for Adding in Excel

  • Double-check Your Range: Always verify you have selected the correct range of cells to avoid errors.
  • Use Named Ranges: For frequently used ranges, consider naming them to simplify your formulas.
  • Practice with Different Functions: Explore other functions like AVERAGE or MAX to enhance your data analysis skills.
  • Lock Cells for Accuracy: Use the $ sign to lock cells in your formulas to prevent changes when you copy the formula elsewhere.
  • Check for Errors: Watch out for common errors like including text cells in your range, which could result in incorrect sums.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sum a row in Excel?

Type =SUM( and then select the row cells you want to add, close the parenthesis, and press Enter.

Can I add non-adjacent cells?

Yes, you can. Type =SUM( and then hold down the CTRL key while selecting the specific cells you want to add.

What is the shortcut for autosum?

Select the cell where you want the sum, and press Alt + =, then press Enter.

How do I add only visible cells in a filtered list?

Use the SUBTOTAL function with =SUBTOTAL(9, range), which ignores hidden cells.

Can I combine text and numbers in a sum function?

No, the SUM function only works with numeric values. Text cells will be ignored.


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Click on an empty cell.
  3. Type the SUM function.
  4. Select the range of cells.
  5. Use the autosum function.


Adding in Excel is one of those essential skills that everyone should know. Whether you’re managing a household budget or handling massive data sets at work, knowing how to sum numbers quickly can save you a ton of time.

By using functions like SUM and tools like AutoSum, you can make quick work of what might otherwise be a tedious task. Don’t forget, practice makes perfect. The more you use Excel, the more comfortable you’ll become with its various features. If you’re keen to dive deeper, Excel offers a world of advanced functions and shortcuts that can take your data management to the next level. So, start exploring and keep summing!

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