How to Sum a Column in Excel (Addition of Numbers)

Excel is great at storing and calculating numbers.

The simplest of all mathematical operations is the addition function (summing up numbers). Microsoft Excel offers an in-built function to sum numbers. 😉

And you’d be amazed to see how swift and smooth it gets to sum thousands of numbers in Excel. The guide below explains how to sum columns and rows in Excel.

So continue scrolling and download our free sample workbook here to tag along with the guide.

How to sum a column in Excel

There are two ways how you can quickly sum up a column in Excel.

1. Through the Status Bar

Here’s a column in Excel that contains numbers. Need the sum of this column?

A column of numbers

Select the column by clicking on the column header.

Selecting the column header

Go to the Status Bar at the bottom of Excel (the right side).

Sum of numbers at the status bar

Excel displays the sum of all the numbers in the selected column.

This method of summing a column will only suit you if you quickly want to see the sum of a column. As soon as the selection is released, the Sum from the Status bar disappears.

You cannot copy the Sum value from the status bar.

If you do not want the sum of the entire column but only of some cells in the selected column, select those cells only in the same row.

Kasper Langmann, Microsoft Office Specialist

2. Through the SUM function

To formally calculate SUM in Excel, use the SUM function.

1. Activate a cell and write the SUM function as below.

= SUM (A2:A8)

Writing the SUM function

Select the range of all the cells to be summed as the argument of the Sum function.

2. Hit ‘Enter’ to calculate the sum of the said numbers as below.

Excel sums only the visible cells

Pro Tip!

Cut the above process short. Select the cell where you want the sum of numbers to appear.

Use the keyboard shortcut: Alt key + Equal sign key.

Excel would automatically pick the range to be summed. To define a different range, select the cells to be summed manually and hit enter.✌

Add numbers in Excel across rows and columns

Adding numbers across a column is as easy as explained above.

Can we take this the other way around? Adding numbers across rows and columns?

1. Here’s a dense pack of data with numbers and numbers.

Multiple rows and columns

2. We want to sum each row and each column of this data.

3. Begin by summing up the first row.

4. Activate the first empty cell where the row ends (or any other cell as you like).

5. Write the SUM formula below in the formula bar.

=SUM (B2:E3)

Excel calculates the SUM

6. Press Enter to get the sum for this row.

Excel calculates the SUM of the row

7. Drag and drop it to all rows beneath.

Excel calculates the SUM for multiple rows

8. Time to sum the columns.

9. Activate the cell immediately next to where the first column ends.

10. Write the SUM function as below.


Select multiple rows

11. Press Enter to get the sum for this column.

Excel calculates the SUM below

12. Drag and drop it to all the columns to the right.

Excel calculates the SUM below

13. And there you go! All rows and columns are summed up.

That’s how you can add numbers across multiple rows and multiple columns.

How to Autosum in Excel

The sum is one of the most commonly used Excel operations. And so, Excel offers an in-built button to facilitate quick additions in Excel.

1. Activate the cell where you want to perform the sum.

2. Go to Formulas > Function Library > Auto Sum.

Auto Sum from the functions library

3. Click on it to launch the drawer of quick functions.

Drawer of quick functions

4. Choose SUM.

 Sum from the drawer of quick functions

5. Excel operates the SUM function in the active cell. It automatically selects the range to be summed.

Operate the SUM function manually

6. If you want to choose a different range, select it to calculate the sum of those cells only.

7. Press Enter to perform the sum as follows.

Auto Sum in Excel

Pretty straightforward? Huh? 😊

FREE VIDEO: How to sum columns in Excel

Compliment the examples discussed above with a very quick tutorial on summing columns in Excel. Watch my video and learn how to SUM columns in less than 2 minutes.

That’s it – Now what?

That’s all about summing up columns and rows in Excel. Until now, we have learned different ways to calculate the sum of a column in Excel (some shortcuts too).

This guide further explains how to calculate the sum of rows and columns and how to use the auto-sum feature of Excel.

SUM is a basic operation, and the SUM function is a very basic tool. However, Microsoft Excel also offers advanced variations of the SUM function. Like the SUMIF and IF functions.

My 30-minute free email course will help you learn these two and the very famous VLOOKUP function in Excel. Sign up now!

Other resources

Want to know more about the SUMIF and SUMIFS functions of Excel? Read it here.

Another function from the SUM family of Excel is the SUMPRODUCT function. Learn it now.