Home and Learn: Microsoft Excel Course

Entering Simple Addition Formula

The first thing we'll do to our spreadsheet from the previous section is to add up all those numbers, the ones going down under the days of the week headings. The total for each day of the week will be placed on Row 9. So Monday's total will go in cell B9, Tuesday's total will go in cell C9, and so on.

Here's our spreadsheet again:

Excel 2007 Spreadsheet

Our first total will go in cell B9.

Adding up in Excel

Excel needs to know which cells you want to add up. Look at the numbers for the Monday column. We have a 1 in cell B4, a 7 in cell B5, an 8 in cell B6, and a 1 in cell B7. So we want the answer to this:

B4 + B5 + B6 + B7

To let Excel know that this is what we want, try this:

  • Click inside cell B9, which is where we want the answer to appear
  • Once you've clicked on cell B9, click into the formula bar at the top
  • Type this:
B4 + B5 + B6 + B7

When you have entered the formula in the formula bar, press the enter key on your keyboard. Your spreadsheet should look like ours below:

Adding up in Excel 2007

Something has gone wrong! This is not quite what we were expecting. We wanted Excel to add up the numbers for us, but it hasn't done anything except enter the cells we typed.

What went wrong was that we didn't "tell" excel to add up. Excel needs you to type an equals (=) sign first, and then those cell references. If you don't include the equals sign, Excel thinks it's just plain text, and so doesn't do any calculating.

So enter this inside of your formula bar instead:

= B4 + B5 + B6 + B7

In other words, put an equals sign ( = ) before B4. Press your enter key and you should have the correct answer in cell B9.

Now click back inside the formula bar, and delete the equals sign. Press the enter key again. You should then just have the same text as in the image above. We're doing this to show you an easier way to add up - with the SUM function.

When your spreadsheet looks like ours in the image at the top of the page, you can nove on to the next part.

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