If you need to calculate a running total in Excel, you’re in luck! This quick guide will show you how to create a cumulative sum in just a few steps. By following this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use a simple formula to keep a running total of your data, which is useful for tracking progress or analyzing trends.

## Step by Step Tutorial: How to Do Cumulative Sum in Excel

In this section, we’ll walk through the steps to create a cumulative sum in Excel. By the end, you’ll know how to apply a formula that adds up values in a series progressively.

### Step 1: Open Your Excel Workbook

Start by opening the Excel workbook that contains the data you want to sum.

Ensure your data is neatly organized in a single column without any blank cells.

### Step 2: Click on the First Cell for Your Cumulative Sum

Select the cell where you want the cumulative sum to start, usually right next to the first cell of your data.

For example, if your data begins in cell A2, you might start your cumulative sum in cell B2.

### Step 3: Enter the Formula for the First Cell

Type the formula `=A2`

into the selected cell and press Enter.

This sets the initial value of your cumulative sum equal to the first value in your data series.

### Step 4: Enter the Formula for the Next Cell

Click on the cell just below your first cumulative sum and enter the formula `=B2+A3`

.

This formula adds the value of the previous cumulative sum to the next value in your data column.

### Step 5: Drag the Formula Down

Click and drag the fill handle (the small square at the bottom-right corner of the cell) down the column to fill in the cumulative sum formula for all subsequent cells.

As you drag, Excel will automatically update the formula for each cell, creating a running total.

After completing these steps, you should see a new column showing the cumulative sum of your data. You can use this to quickly analyze trends or monitor progress over time.

## Tips for Doing Cumulative Sum in Excel

- Ensure your data is in a continuous column without empty cells to avoid errors.
- Use the fill handle to quickly apply the formula to a large range of cells.
- Double-check your formulas to make sure they reference the correct cells.
- Format your cumulative sum column to make it easier to read, such as adding bold text or a background color.
- Save your work frequently to avoid losing any changes.

## Frequently Asked Questions

### What is a cumulative sum?

A cumulative sum is a sequence of partial sums of a given data set. It adds each data point to the sum of the previous data points.

### Can I create a cumulative sum with multiple columns?

Yes, but the process involves using more complex formulas that sum across both rows and columns.

### How do I handle empty cells in my data?

It’s best to remove or fill empty cells before creating a cumulative sum, as they can cause errors.

### Can I create a cumulative sum in Google Sheets?

Yes, the process is very similar. Use the same formulas, and Google Sheets will calculate the running total.

### What if I need to update my data frequently?

If your data changes often, consider using Excel’s Table feature, which automatically updates formulas when you add new rows.

## Summary

- Open your Excel workbook.
- Click on the first cell for your cumulative sum.
- Enter the formula for the first cell.
- Enter the formula for the next cell.
- Drag the formula down.

## Conclusion

Calculating a cumulative sum in Excel might seem a bit daunting at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a breeze! This technique is incredibly useful for keeping track of totals, whether you’re monitoring financial data, tracking inventory, or analyzing trends over time.

Using the steps outlined, you can turn a simple column of numbers into a powerful running total that updates automatically as you add more data. Remember to format your column for better readability and double-check your formulas to prevent errors.

For further reading, you might want to explore Excel’s other powerful functions, such as SUMIF or VLOOKUP, which can help you dive even deeper into data analysis. So go ahead, open up Excel, and start playing around with cumulative sums—before you know it, you’ll be a pro! Now, how about you give it a try and see the magic unfold?

Matt Jacobs has been working as an IT consultant for small businesses since receiving his Master’s degree in 2003. While he still does some consulting work, his primary focus now is on creating technology support content for SupportYourTech.com.

His work can be found on many websites and focuses on topics such as Microsoft Office, Apple devices, Android devices, Photoshop, and more.