# How to Add in Excel: Simple Guide for Beginners (2024)

Adding up in Excel is a child’s play.

However, there’s not a single method for how you can add numbers in Excel. Many methods and smart shortcuts to achieve the sum of a given set of numbers in Excel await you in the guide below.

This tutorial is an excellent opportunity for beginners to learn all the possible methods to add numbers in Excel and for advanced users to grasp some Excel adding-up tips 💁‍♀️

Grab your free practice workbook for this guide here and tag along with me to learn how to add in Excel.

## How to add numbers in a cell

If you want to add two (or more) numbers in Excel, write them in a cell and add them.

For example, to add 50, 100, and 200 in Excel:

Step 1) Activate a cell.

Step 2) Write the following formula in it using the addition operator.

Click to copy

Step 3) Hit Enter.

This is the most basic method of adding numbers in Excel 🐣

## Add numbers using cell references

If you don’t want to manually write the numbers within a cell but they’re already in other cells, you can refer to those cells.

Like in the image below, I have numbers in different cells. To add them up:

Step 1) Activate a cell.

Step 2) Write the addition formula in it by using the addition operator (+) and referring to the cells that contain the num

Click to copy

Step 3) Hit Enter.

Excel will add the numbers within the referred cells 📱

Be careful when you use cell references for addition or any other function in Excel. As anything within those cell references changes, the formula automatically updates to update the result.

## Using the SUM Function

Apart from manually writing formulas, you can also set up the SUM function that sums the given numbers (or arrays or numbers) ➕

For example, to add the same numbers (as above) in Excel using the SUM function:

Step 1) Activate a cell.

Step 2) Write the SUM function as below.

Click to copy

Step 3) As the arguments of the SUM function, specify the cell references (or hardcode the numbers) to be added up.

Click to copy

Step 4) Press enter to get the sum.

Apart from single cell references or numbers, you can also supply complete cell arrays (single or two-dimensional) to the SUM function for adding them up.

See here.

Step 5) To add up this column of numbers, write the SUM function as below.

Click to copy

Similarly, if you have a two-dimensional array of numbers to be added up like here.

Step 6) To add it all up, refer to the entire two-dimensional range of cells as one argument of the SUM function.

Click to copy

The SUM function is of great help when it comes to adding up columns/rows or cell ranges. The bigger the cell range to be summed up, the easier the SUM function makes adding it up 🧾

## Add numbers using AutoSum (or Alt key shortcut)

Since addition is a basic and very commonly used operation of Excel, you get the Autosum as a button on the Ribbon so that you don’t have to waste time writing functions.

Here’s how you use it:

Step 1) Activate a cell next to the row or column containing numbers to be summed up.

Step 2) Go to the Home tab > Editing group > AutoSum button.

Make sure to click the auto sum button, and not the small drop-down arrow next to it.

As soon as you click it, a SUM function will be inserted within the active cell and it will automatically identify the column/row next to it to be summed up ⌨

Step 3) Press enter to have the sum auto-calculated.

In some situations, the Autosum might not correctly identify the sum range. You can manually adjust the sum range by updating the cell references in the AutoSum formula.

To get the auto sum active in your sheet without having to use the cursor:

Step 4) Activate the cell where you want the sum

Step 5) Press the shortcut keys: Alt key + Equal to key (=).

From the sticky keys’ pathway, you can you the sticky key combination of Alt key > H > U > S to activate Autosum.

### Pro Tip!

If you’re a Mac user who cannot find the Alt key on his keypad, that’s alright,

The Autosum shortcut for Max Pcs is the Command key + Shift key + T.

## Quickly check the sum of a row/column

If do not need the sum of a given list of numbers populated in a cell in your sheet, but you only want to check the sum of a row or a column quickly, here’s what to do 👇

Step 1) Select the array of numbers to be added up.

### Pro Tip!

Selecting a continuous array of numbers is easy.

But if you have the numbers scattered around your sheet, you can select the cells using the Control and Shift key.

For example, if you want to add up A3, B7, C9, and E11, you cannot select them as a continuous array. But what you can do is, select Cell A3, press down the Control key and while you keep it pressed, select Cell B7. Again, press down the control key and select C9 and then E11. This is how you can select multiple cells from a sheet 🎯

Similarly, if you want up different arrays and cells like A2:A8, C9, E4:E11, and D9, select Cell A2, hold down the shift key, and select A8 (doing so will select all cells between A2 and A8). Then press down the Control key and select Cell C9. Again, press down the Control key to select E9, press down the Shift key, and press E11 to select all cells in between.

Step 2) Once the cells are selected, spot the numbers appearing on the Status bar at the bottom right of the Excel window.

The status bar shows the sum, count, and average of the selected cells.

This is how you quickly check the sum of whatever cells you want without having to write up any formula/function for it.

## Conclusion

The above guide brings together all the methods to add numbers in Excel. It could be a simple 2+2 or you could use the SUM function of Excel to add a few numbers, an array of numbers, or a whole range of numbers for you 💪

After this beginner guide, to continue acing your Microsoft Excel learning journey, I suggest you read my following Excel tutorials for beginners, too.