# How to Make a Running Total in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Make a Running Total in Excel

Creating a running total in Excel is a simple yet powerful way to keep track of cumulative sums in your data. By following a straightforward method, you can easily calculate running totals using basic Excel functions. Here’s a quick overview: Use the SUM function with an absolute reference to the starting cell and a relative reference to the current cell.

## Step-by-Step Tutorial on How to Make a Running Total in Excel

In this section, we’ll guide you through the process of creating a running total in Excel. By the end of these steps, you’ll know how to set up a running total that updates as you add more data.

Start by opening the Excel file where you want to create the running total.

Whether you’re tracking expenses, sales, or any other kind of data, make sure your Excel file is open and ready for editing.

### Step 2: Select the Cell for the First Running Total

Click on the cell where you want the running total to begin.

This is often the cell next to your first data point. For example, if your data starts in cell B2, then place your first running total in cell C2.

### Step 3: Enter the SUM Formula

In the selected cell, type the formula: `=SUM(\$B\$2:B2)`.

Here, \$B\$2 is an absolute reference to the first cell in your data column, and B2 is a relative reference to the current cell.

### Step 4: Copy the Formula Down the Column

Click and drag the fill handle from the first running total cell down through the column.

This action will auto-fill the running total formula, adjusting the relative reference for each row.

### Step 5: Check Your Running Totals

Review the running totals to ensure they are calculating correctly.

You should see that each cell now shows the cumulative sum of your data up to that point.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a column of running totals in Excel that updates automatically as you add new data.

## Tips for Making a Running Total in Excel

• Use Absolute References: Make sure to use absolute references for the starting cell to keep it constant.
• Double-Check Formulas: Ensure that your formula is correct before copying it down the column.
• Use Named Ranges: For more complex spreadsheets, consider using named ranges to make your formulas easier to understand.
• Conditional Formatting: Apply conditional formatting to highlight running totals that meet certain criteria.
• Error Checking: Use Excel’s error-checking tools to ensure there are no mistakes in your formulas.

### What is a running total?

A running total is the cumulative sum of a sequence of numbers that updates as new numbers are added.

### Can I create a running total across multiple sheets?

Yes, you can. Use the same formula but reference cells across different sheets using sheet names.

### How do I reset the running total at a specific point?

You can reset the running total by starting a new SUM formula from the point you want it to reset.

### Can I use a running total for dates or times?

Yes, running totals can be applied to dates and times, not just numbers.

### Is there a way to create a running total without using formulas?

While formulas are the most straightforward method, you can use PivotTables or VBA for more complex scenarios.

## Summary

2. Select the cell for the first running total.
3. Enter the SUM formula: `=SUM(\$B\$2:B2)`.
4. Copy the formula down the column.

## Conclusion

Creating a running total in Excel is a handy skill that saves time and enhances data analysis. Whether you’re managing daily expenses or tracking sales, knowing how to set up a running total can make a world of difference. With just a few steps, you can set up a system that updates automatically, providing you with up-to-date information at a glance.

If you’re new to Excel, don’t worry—practice makes perfect. Try experimenting with different datasets to see how running totals can help you. And remember, Excel is a powerful tool with many hidden features. Explore more functions and features to get the most out of your data.

Happy Excel-ing!