Most people know that Excel is a spreadsheet application. It automatically implies that the software can record and perform arithmetic calculations.
Amongst the most commonly used functions in Excel, adding a column or a series of columns in the most popular operation.
So how to add in Excel?
There are three different ways that you can go about adding cells in Microsoft Excel.
- Using the simple function
- Using the SUM Function
- Using the Auto Sum Feature.
Let’s begin with the first one …
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1. How to Add Cells in Excel
Using a simple mathematical operation of “+” to add cell could be simple and is the easiest way to go about adding cells in excel.
Step 1: You select the cell you want your final answer to be presented in and press on the “=” from your keyboard (important to start off all the functions in Excel).
Step 2: You click on the cell with the value you would want to add and hit on the “+” key on the keyboard.
Step 3: You click on the other value you want to add and then again press “+”. You keep on doing this until you have all the values you want to add in the function.
Step 4: Finally, when you have all the cells with the value you want to add in the function. You press “enter” from the keyboard that would show the final added value from the selected cells.
This technique allows for a lot of control as to what you would want to add but when dealing with huge data this could be time-consuming and could even take you hours to do that you could get it done with some simple clicks using the next technique.
2. How to Add a Column in Excel
Moving towards the second technique. This method would allow you to add huge sets of data. The main limitation with the previous method is it would be ineffective when dealing with thousands of numbers (you can’t go in selecting each one independently). Rather we would advise you to follow the below steps.
Step 1: Type the “=” symbol in the cell where you would want your final answer to be.
Step 2: Now rather than selecting different cells, you should write the following function.
Type into the box “SUM” followed by a “(“. this would initiate the SUM function in excel and now you would be asked to write down the range that you would want adding in the final answer.
Click on the cell that you would want to add and then drag over the other cells that you would want to add with it.
This would the marching ants over the data that you want.
You can always manually type in the range that you want to add as well. Just make sure to separate the starting and ending cell with a colon mark “:“.
Step 3: After you have selected the range. Go ahead and press “enter” on the keyboard that would show the result in the cell.
3. How to Use the AutoSum Function
Now generally the SUM is the most commonly used Function in the Excel Community.
Therefore the good folks over at Microsoft added a feature called the Auto Sum function. Showed by the Symbol of Sigma. The Auto Sum function allows for quick addition in various columns and rows. This would benefit the person trying to use the function all too much in his work.
For this all that one needs to do is to select the cell where he would want to add the final result and click on the Auto Sum button.
It would detect what are the cells that would be added together from the column above and finally would produce the final result in just one click. Good for adding cells in excel faster but it might require some getting used to and this how you add a column in excel.
Use Excel Online
A lot of people nowadays are becoming more and more accustomed to the use of online spreadsheet software that could help with collecting, recording and presenting data to various individuals. With this increasing trend, people are changing from traditional workbooks and ledgers to these amazing software… the only problem here being the price. Price of this software is pretty high and if you are looking into buying one then you will need to be ready to be spending some money on it.
But you are in luck as most people don’t know it but when it comes to excel there is a free version of the software as well and it is quite simple to access. All you need to do is.get an outlook account and follow the following steps.
Login your outlook account and select the grid towards the top left side of the page. In the drop-down, there are going to be a lot of different software that Microsoft offers absolutely for free. Select Excel from the options and you will be redirected to a new worksheet, all your work would be saved on the cloud and now you are good to go.
The cloud version of excel mostly has the same features and functions apart from some exceptions.
The SUM function on excel tends to follow the same syntax and allows for the same features as mentioned above. Let’s have a look at it below:
1. Adding Individual cells
The adding of individual cells one by one is a common trait among the newcomers but when you are working professionally this might not be the best idea. Either way, you can see below on how you can execute this
Step 1: Select the cell you would want your answer to appear in and then click on the “=” sign. This would initiate a formula in excel.
Step 2: Click or mention the name of the cell; defined by the letter and the number of rows and columns. After that type in “+” from the keyboard to show that you would want to add the cell to.
Step 3: Click or type in the second cell that you would want to add to the previously mentioned cell to. Then press “+” form the keyboard and repeat the task as mentioned above until you get the desired numbers in the formula.
Step 4: When you have all the numbers in the formula press the “Enter” key from the keyboard to confirm the submission of your query and it would instantly produce your answer.
This method is not always the best option to work with when working in the workbook. There are better ways to be completing such a task as you would see further below.
2. Adding a Range of Numbers
How to add up a column in excel which has a large amount of dataset? Using the range technique makes it extremely easy.
Especially when dealing with complicated worksheets. Below you can see how you could carry out the process step by step.
Step 1: Select the cell where you would want your final answer to show and press the “=” sign from the keyboard. This would again tell excel that you would like to start a function.
Step 2: Type in the syntax “SUM(“ in the cell without spaces. This would be telling excel that you would want to “SUM” or rather add in the numbers that you would see mentioned ahead.
Step 3: Now click and drag on the range that you would want to add. The cell would show two cells separated by a colon. The two cells are the starting one and the ending one. You can type in the name of the cells manually as well. You can always place a “,” to add in multiple ranges.
Step 4: Press “Enter” and the answer would be displayed in the cell selected.
3. The AutoSum Feature
Adding in the autosum feature to excel was Microsoft best decision. The auto sum functions allow users to sum in a huge set of data without mentioning or dragging their cursor over the data.
It is pretty simple to execute. All one needs to do is click on the auto sum button denoted by a sigma over on the top right side of the screen. While selecting the cell where you would want the answer to show up.
This would add all the values in the above column. Without the user needing to do anything else.
This is the quickest way to add in excel.
SUM Function By Example
To understand the methods shown above we have gathered some scenarios for you, where these methods would fit best. This would increase your understanding of the methods that were demonstrated above while being an addition to you knowledge base.
1. Independent Cell Addition
Adding cells independently is not recommended but if you are starting out in Excel there are certain situations where this might be effective.
Scenario 1: Complex Worksheet
If you are going to be using excel you would be making most of your calculation on it, from minor to major. Getting all of the calculation on a single worksheet would allow for a lot of functions on the worksheet and sometimes carrying out a simple task (like in this case adding two values) could become pretty daunting. So rather than ruining the final result you can just simply go ahead and add cell wise which would increase the transparency of what is actually going on plus would make it easier for you to manage simple tasks while focusing on the main ones.
Scenario 2: Not Everyone is an Excel Guru
Simple tasks like the addition of two cells should be considered just that “addition of two cells”. Yes, most people thinking this is too simple of a method to carry out addition but Microsoft aims for you to get the job done the way you want it. Otherwise, they would not have added the feature in there, to begin with. Keep it simple is my motto.
Scenario 3: When the Values are not in the Same Range or on the same Worksheet
When working on Excel you would be working on more than one worksheet and adding let’s say all the expenses on the Expense workbook to a final worksheet would allow you to add all your calculation to different expenses and get them on the final worksheet as total expenses.
I would say situations like these are not going to leave even the gurus with many choices. In fact, I can only think of going sheet by sheet and selecting the cells that I want to be added to my total expenses is the way to go with this.
Additionally, this would also help you when you were going to make changes in the future to the sheet. Placing functions in a way that would allow long term flexibility would be the best way to go about doing things.
2. Selecting Range of Data to Add
This is a pretty common way of going about adding a long list of numbers in a seconds time. Below are some of the Scenarios where this method would work best.
Scenario 1: Lengthy Worksheet
Complex worksheets are quite common in the Excel world. Getting to result might seem impossible at certain times. While the final result also needs to accurate. Data in the workbook is sensitive data hence you are bothering with recording it in the first place. You cannot afford mistakes.
So selecting independently is most definitely going to cause an error of omission. Therefore selecting a range of cells would be a much better option to opt for. While one cannot most certainly make mistakes with ranges. The most simple solutions are the best solutions when working on excel.
Scenarios 2: Short on Time
Let’s face it our life is a race against time. There is no party, marriage or a hangout where people are on time. Everyone is busy with something and some people are busy with nothing (while still making it count as something).
For us time is always short and if it is your responsibility to get the excel workbook created and done on a specific deadline. You would most certainly want the shortest route to your destination. Therefore using the ranged function in simple addition would make all the difference and would help you increase your speed to produce results.
Scenario 3: Working on Different Sheets
Having different sheets in the same workbook is also one of the most important features that you should be using. Using sheets allows people to simplify the data while making it presentable for other people to see. Using a single sheet and distributing the data over it certainly seems like a clustered mess of numbers. You don’t want that.
While working on different sheets you might want to add different ranges spread across different sheets on a single workbook. You can do this pretty easily with the “,” mark placed with every range that you want to be added to the greater sum. Just select and drag add”,” then select and drag on another column of data this would allow for the columns to be added in the simplest and fastest way.
3. Using Auto Sum Function
Due to the SUM function being the most important and the commonly used function; Microsoft has added the Auto Sum Function to the mix. One click and it adds all the cells from the column above.
This feature could be used in the following scenarios below:
Scenario 1: Huge Worksheet
A huge worksheet is a common sight for most excel users and sometimes that data can be so huge that clicking and dragging could look like a tedious task. So if we weren’t lazy already, now we can add all the lengthy columns in a single click. This might not look like a good addition but if you are to add a lot of different columns that might not be aligned in any way. Then this feature would become the start of the show.
Simply pressing a single button could make life so much easier with excel.
Scenario 2: You Simply Cannot Go Wrong
Using the Auto Sum feature it is very rare that people would make mistakes as opposed to using other functions. As long as you know what you are doing everything would turn out to be perfectly well. I mean it is a single click, what can possibly go wrong
The robustness of a function is very important, especially when dealing with huge data. You can have faith that the answer generated at the end of the whole column is as it would be required to be. Using such a function reduces the chances of mistakes while also increasing the speed of work if you are working against the clock.
Scenario 3: Makes the Sheet Look Tidier
While working with huge sheets, against the clock. The only worst nightmare is when you yourself cannot decipher what you did.
Yes, don’t try to deny it. We all know that one person that cannot read his own writing and nobody would want to be that guy, especially when working on the lengthy worksheet with sensitive data that could make or break firms.
So following a work etiquette that would allow for fewer functions and more work being done would be the best option.
Nobody likes a messy sheet. So making sure everything is going as smooth as silk.