How to Automatically Add Numbers in Google Sheets: A Step-by-Step Guide

Adding numbers automatically in Google Sheets can be a real time-saver, especially for those of us who aren’t math whizzes. Whether you’re keeping track of expenses, creating a budget, or analyzing data, being able to sum up your numbers with ease is crucial. So, how do you do it? It’s simple: just use the SUM function! With a few clicks, Google Sheets will add up your numbers for you. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and find out how.

Step by Step Tutorial: Automatically Add Numbers in Google Sheets

Before diving into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming to achieve here. We want to use Google Sheets to automatically calculate the sum of a range of numbers. This is useful for creating totals, subtotals, or any other kind of aggregation of numerical data.

Step 1: Select the cell where you want the sum to appear.

Click on the cell where you want your total number to show up. This is typically at the end of a column or a row of numbers.

In this step, make sure you’ve selected the right cell because this is where your calculated sum will appear. If you’re adding up a column, click the first empty cell at the bottom of that column. For a row, click the first empty cell to the right.

Step 2: Type “=” followed by “SUM(” into the selected cell.

After selecting the cell, start typing the SUM function. Begin with an equal sign (=), which tells Google Sheets you’re about to enter a formula, then type “SUM(” without the quotes.

Remember, formulas in Google Sheets always start with an equal sign. The “SUM(” part is the beginning of the SUM function, which is specifically designed to add up numbers.

Step 3: Highlight the cells you want to add.

Now, while the SUM function is still open, click and drag your mouse over the range of cells you wish to add. This could be a list of numbers in a column or a row.

As you drag over the cells, you’ll see them highlighted, and their cell references will appear within the parentheses of the SUM function in the formula bar. This tells Google Sheets exactly which numbers you want to be added together.

Step 4: Type “)” and then press Enter.

After you’ve selected all the cells you want to sum, type a closing parenthesis “)” to complete the function and then hit the Enter key on your keyboard.

This finalizes the SUM function. Google Sheets will now calculate the total of the selected cells and the sum will appear in the cell where you entered the function.

After completing these steps, you’ll see the sum of the selected numbers displayed in the cell. If you add or change any numbers in the selected range, the total will update automatically. This is the beauty of Google Sheets – it does the math for you in real-time!

Tips: Efficiently Sum Numbers in Google Sheets

  • Use the SUM function for a quick and easy way to add up numbers.
  • Double-check the range of cells you’ve selected before hitting Enter to ensure accuracy.
  • To sum non-adjacent cells, hold down the Ctrl key (Cmd on Mac) while selecting them.
  • Use Autosum, a shortcut button that looks like Σ, to automatically sum selected cells.
  • Remember that changes in the summed cells will automatically update the total.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sum up an entire column or row without clicking each cell?

You can type the range of cells you want to add within the SUM function. For example, “=SUM(A1:A10)” would add all the numbers from cell A1 to A10.

Can I add numbers across different sheets?

Yes, you can! Just include the sheet name in your range reference. For example, “=SUM(Sheet2!A1:A10)” would sum the numbers in cells A1 to A10 on Sheet2.

What if I want to add up cells with specific criteria?

You can use the SUMIF or SUMIFS function to add cells that meet certain criteria. For example, “=SUMIF(A1:A10, “>20″)” would sum only the cells greater than 20.

Can I use the SUM function for subtraction, multiplication, or division?

No, SUM is specifically for addition. For other operations, use “-” for subtraction, “*” for multiplication, and “/” for division in your formulas.

What happens if I include a cell with text in my SUM range?

Google Sheets will ignore the text cells and sum only the cells with numbers.


  1. Select the cell for the sum to appear.
  2. Type “=SUM(” into the cell.
  3. Highlight the range of cells to add.
  4. Type “)” and press Enter.


Mastering the art of automatically adding numbers in Google Sheets can transform you into a spreadsheet superhero. It’s a skill that seems small but packs a mighty punch when it comes to efficiency and accuracy. Whether you’re a student, professional, or just someone who loves to organize data, knowing how to sum up numbers with a simple function is invaluable.

You no longer need to manually add each number or worry about errors in your totals. Google Sheets has your back with its built-in functions. And the best part? Any changes in your data are reflected in real-time, keeping your totals up-to-date without any extra effort on your part.

So, go ahead, dive into those spreadsheets with confidence. With the tips and steps outlined in this article, you’re well-equipped to tackle any summing task that comes your way. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to try out these steps right now. Happy summing!

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