How to Subtotal and Copy Only Totals in Excel: A Step-by-Step Guide

Microsoft Excel is a powerful tool that can help you organize, analyze, and present data. One of the essential functions in Excel is the ability to subtotal and copy only totals. This can be useful when you want to summarize your data and present only the final numbers.

Here’s how you can achieve this: Highlight the data range, use the Subtotal function under the Data tab to calculate totals, then use the Go To Special function to select only the subtotal rows, and finally copy and paste the selected rows into a new location.

What happens after you do this? Well, you will have a neat summary of your data, showing only the totals, which can be useful for reports, presentations, or further analysis without the clutter of the individual data points.


Microsoft Excel is a staple in the business world, and for good reason. It’s an incredibly versatile tool that can handle everything from simple calculations to complex data analysis. One feature that’s particularly useful for managing large sets of data is the ability to subtotal and copy only totals.

Whether you’re an accountant summarizing financial reports, a salesperson tracking quarterly revenue, or a student organizing research data, Excel’s subtotal function can save you time and effort. Instead of manually adding up groups of numbers, you can let Excel do the heavy lifting. And once you have your subtotals, you might want to copy just those totals to another location for further analysis or reporting. That’s where the ability to select and copy only the subtotal rows comes into play. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to achieve this, making your data management tasks a little easier.

Step by Step Tutorial: Subtotal and Copy Only Totals in Microsoft Excel

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what we’re aiming for. Subtotaling in Excel allows you to quickly calculate sums, averages, counts, and other functions for groups of data. Copying only the totals means you’ll be able to extract these calculated figures without the individual data points, which can be especially useful when working with large datasets.

Step 1: Highlight the Data Range

Select the range of data you want to subtotal.

Selecting the correct range of data is crucial because Excel will apply the subtotal function to the data within this range. Make sure you include all the rows and columns that contain the data you want to summarize.

Step 2: Use the Subtotal Function under the Data Tab

Go to the Data tab, click on Subtotal, and choose the options that best fit your data.

In the Subtotal dialog box, you’ll specify which column to subtotal, the function to use (like sum or average), and which column to use to separate the groups for subtotaling. For example, if you’re subtotaling sales data by region, you’d choose to subtotal the sales column whenever the region column changes.

Step 3: Use the Go To Special Function to Select Only the Subtotal Rows

After your subtotals are in place, press F5, click on “Special,” select “Visible cells only,” and click OK.

This step is key because it ensures that you only select the rows with the subtotal figures, not the individual data points. Excel’s Go To Special function is a hidden gem that can make this process much more manageable.

Step 4: Copy and Paste the Selected Rows into a New Location

Copy the selected rows and paste them into a new location within your spreadsheet or a new document.

Now that you’ve selected only the subtotal rows, you can copy and paste them wherever you need them. This could be into a new sheet within your workbook for a summary report or into a different program entirely if you’re sharing the data with someone else.


Saves timeInstead of manually summing up data, the subtotal function automates the process, saving you valuable time.
Enhances organizationBy copying only the totals, you can create a clean, concise summary of your data, making it easier to analyze and share.
Reduces errorsAutomating the subtotal process reduces the risk of manual calculation errors, ensuring more accurate data.


Learning curveSome users may find it challenging to learn the subtotal function and Go To Special feature, which could lead to initial frustration.
Data must be sortedFor the subtotal function to work correctly, the data must be sorted by the group you want to subtotal, which adds an extra step.
Potential for data omissionIf not careful, you may miss some data when copying only the subtotal rows, which could lead to incomplete summaries.

Additional Information

Mastering the subtleties of Excel’s subtotal function can make a world of difference in data analysis and presentation. A pro tip to remember is always to double-check your subtotals for accuracy before copying them. It’s also worth mentioning that you should be cautious when editing your data after subtotalling because adding or removing rows can affect the calculations.

Remember to use descriptive names for your subtotal summary sheets to avoid confusion. And don’t forget, the subtotal function is dynamic, meaning if you change the data in your original set, the totals will automatically update – a feature that’s both incredibly useful and a potential pitfall if you’re not expecting it.


  1. Highlight the data range you want to subtotal.
  2. Use the Subtotal function under the Data tab to apply the desired calculations.
  3. Use the Go To Special function to select only the subtotal rows.
  4. Copy and paste the selected rows into a new location.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the subtotal function calculate averages as well as sums?

Yes, the subtotal function can calculate averages, counts, and several other statistical measures, not just sums.

What happens if I add new data after subtotalling?

The subtotals will automatically update to include the new data, as long as it’s within the range you originally selected.

Can I copy the subtotals to another program like Word or PowerPoint?

Absolutely. Once you’ve selected and copied the subtotal rows, you can paste them into other programs for reporting or presentation purposes.

Is there a way to remove the subtotal rows if I no longer need them?

Yes, you can remove subtotals by going back to the Subtotal dialog box under the Data tab and selecting “Remove All.”

What if I want to subtotal multiple columns at once?

You can subtotal multiple columns simultaneously by checking multiple boxes in the Subtotal dialog box. Just keep in mind that it might make your data more challenging to read.


Microsoft Excel’s ability to subtotal and copy only totals is a game-changer for anyone working with large sets of data. It simplifies the data analysis process, improves accuracy, and helps create neat, summary reports.

Remember that while Excel’s functions are powerful, they’re only as good as the user’s understanding of them. So, take the time to practice and get comfortable with subtotals and the Go To Special feature. Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed your data without it.

Join Our Free Newsletter

Featured guides and deals

You may opt out at any time. Read our Privacy Policy