How to Total in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide for Accurate Summations

How to Total in Excel

If you need to quickly add up numbers in Excel, you’re in for a treat. Adding numbers, or "totaling," is super easy. Just use the SUM function, and you’ll have your total in no time. Whether you need to add a few numbers or a whole column, Excel makes it a breeze. Let’s dive into the step-by-step tutorial to get you from zero to hero.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Total in Excel

In this section, we’ll go through the process of totaling numbers in an Excel spreadsheet. Follow these steps, and you’ll be totaling like a pro in no time.

Step 1: Open Your Excel Spreadsheet

Open the Excel spreadsheet where you want to total your numbers.

First things first, you need to have your Excel file open. If you don’t have one yet, go ahead and create a new one. For this tutorial, we’ll assume you already have some numbers you want to add up.

Step 2: Click on the Cell Where You Want the Total

Click on the cell where you want the total to appear.

Choosing the cell is essential because this is where your total will pop up. Make sure it’s an empty cell to avoid any confusion.

Step 3: Type =SUM(

Type =SUM( in the cell you clicked on.

This is the magic formula that tells Excel you want to add things up. Make sure you start with the equals sign (=), so Excel knows you’re entering a formula.

Step 4: Select the Range of Cells You Want to Total

Drag to select the cells you want to add, then close the parentheses.

Click and drag your mouse over the numbers you want to include in your total. Once you’ve selected them, close the formula with a parenthesis. It should look something like this: =SUM(A1:A5).

Step 5: Press Enter

Hit the Enter key to get your total.

After pressing Enter, Excel will do its thing and instantly display the total in the cell you selected in Step 2. Voila! You’ve just totaled numbers in Excel.

After completing these steps, the selected cell will show the sum of your chosen range of numbers. It’s as simple as that! You can now use this total for further calculations or just to have a quick summary.

Tips for How to Total in Excel

  • Double-check your selected range to make sure all desired cells are included.
  • If you need to total non-contiguous cells, use commas to separate them within the SUM formula, like this: =SUM(A1, A3, A5).
  • You can also use the AutoSum feature by clicking on the AutoSum button (Σ) in the toolbar for quick totaling.
  • Make sure your data is formatted as numbers, not text, to avoid any errors in your calculations.
  • If you frequently total the same range of cells, consider naming the range for easier reference.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my SUM function isn’t working?

Check to see if your cells are formatted as numbers. Also, ensure there are no errors in your formula.

Can I total rows instead of columns?

Absolutely! Just select the cells in the row instead of the column.

What does the AutoSum button do?

The AutoSum button automatically inserts the SUM function for you, making it even quicker to total numbers.

Can I total filtered data?

Yes, use the SUBTOTAL function instead of SUM to total only visible cells in filtered data.

How do I total cells from different sheets?

You can reference cells from different sheets by using the sheet name in your formula, like this: =SUM(Sheet1!A1, Sheet2!A1).


  1. Open your Excel spreadsheet.
  2. Click on the cell where you want the total.
  3. Type =SUM(.
  4. Select the range of cells.
  5. Press Enter.


And there you have it—totaling numbers in Excel is a piece of cake. With just a few simple steps, you can add up any range of numbers in your spreadsheet, making your life a whole lot easier. Whether you’re managing your household budget, organizing a project, or analyzing data at work, knowing how to total in Excel is a skill that’ll come in handy.

Feel free to explore more advanced features like AutoSum and SUBTOTAL to take your Excel game to the next level. Happy totaling!

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