The SUM function is a very well used and effective tool at calculating the summation of cells or a range of cells. Some use this simply to add ranges together, others use this function before calculating the average, or before other functions.
These methods will be addressed later since many of these are their own function.
Syntax: =SUM(Cell) or =SUM(Range)
The best way to use this function is to calculate the summation across a range. For example, if the user needs to calculate the sum of revenues for different products or the profits over the course of a few months.
How can the syntax appear?
=SUM(A1,A2,A3,A4) – This method shows what it would look like if the user selects multiple cells by clicking each one and separating them with commas.
=SUM(A1:A4) – This methods shows the selection of a range. This is a popular method especially with a huge table since adding to the table will automatically sum the newly added cells.
=SUM(A1+A2+A3+A4) – This method is incorrect yet it appears very often with people learning Excel. However, you can do the same thing by simply typing =A1+A2+A3+A4
Of course the issue is that this method does not autoupdate or change if cells are added to a table. This method should not be used, it is much to easy to get confused.
This function is incredibly useful in day to day life. Need to add together all the carbs you can eat in a day? SUM it. Need to see how much coffee you’ve had? SUM it. Need to show your boss the amount of lag time on products over a quarter? SUM it.
Let me know how you use the SUM function!