Excel Logo on a gray background

Microsoft Excel may be known for complex calculations and formulas, but it’s no slouch at simple arithmetic. There are a number of ways to find solutions to simple math problems, like finding the sum of numbers in multiple cells.

Finding the Sum of Numbers in Adjacent Columns or Cells

The quickest way to calculate the sum of squares in Excel is to simply highlight the list of numbers, and check the bottom right of the screen. Here, you’ll find the sum of any selected cell as well as their average and the number of cells you’re adding.

sum at bottom of excel

But, we’ll assume you want to add the sum to the workbook itself. In that case, highlight the numbers you want to add.

highlight cells

From the “Formulas” tab, click “Autosum” to find the sum of the list of numbers. Once you click, Excel will automatically add the sum to the bottom of this list.

formulas autosum

Alternatively, you can type the formula =SUM(D1:D7) in the formula bar and then press “Enter” on the keyboard or click the checkmark in the formula bar to execute the formula. Change the letters and numbers in parenthesis to fit your workbook.

sum formula

Finding the Sum of Numbers in Non-Adjacent Columns or Cells

Click any empty cell in the workbook. This should be the cell where you want to display the sum of these non-adjacent columns.

empty cell

From the “Formulas” tab, click the arrow icon at the right of “Autosum.”

formulas autosum

Choose “Sum.”

autosum and sum

Click the first number in the series.

first cell in column

Hold the “Shift” button and then click the last number in that column to select all of the numbers in between.

shift and click to select

To add the second column of numbers, hold Ctrl and scroll down from the first to the last number in the column. Alternatively, you can add the formula =SUM(D1:D7,F1:F7) to the formula bar. Swap the cells inside the parenthesis to fit your needs.

ctrl and click to select

Press the “Enter” button on the keyboard, or the checkmark in the formula bar to execute the formula.

2 column sum formula

Bryan Clark Bryan Clark
Bryan has worked in journalism and publishing for more than 15 years. For the last 10 years, he's covered the technology beat, including gadgets, social media, security, and web culture. Before working as a freelancer, Bryan was the Managing Editor for The Next Web. These days he spends his time at a number of publications, both online and off, including The New York Times, Popular Science, and The Next Web, among others.
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