The Auto Sum Function


In the above worksheet, you find the sales figures from January / June. The “AutoSum” button in the Standard Toolbar is used for adding the figures in rows and colums, this will automatically creates a formula to adds rows and columns.

To calculate the total sales of PCs, first select an empty cell, I4, in our case, click on the “AutoSum” button in the toolbar.
Excel allows you to select and count a range and marks it with a dotted line. The proposed sum formula = SUM (C4: H4) (= SUM (C4: H4)) appears in the formula bar and in your cell. If these are the cells that you want to add, press the ENTER key or the green checkmark in the formular bar and the calculation is done.
Select C4 to C8, click AutoSum and now if you want to fill all the totals, you can do this by using the fill handle to copy cells.
Click in cell I4, hold the fill handle and drag to cell I8.
Click in cell C9, hold the fill handle and drag to the right to cell I9.

It can be even faster:
Select from C11 to I16 and click “AutoSum”
All totals are calculated in one click.
If you want the grand total now :
Select the full range and the empty row in which the grand total should be placed (C4 to C17), click the “AutoSum” and your total sales is calculated. (Check: click in cell C17, and the formula bar now shows the sum formula = SUM (C16, C9).

Excel ’97 is easier with readable formulas, an example:


  • Place the cursor in cell D2
  • Click on the ‘=’ sign in the formula bar


  • Type in the formula bar ‘income – cost’ and click OK


  • Excel will notify you immediately that the multiple cells are labeled “income”:


  • Click in the Excel worksheet C1 to clarify which income cell it is and click OK
  • Repeat this for the label ‘costs’
  • Click Ok
  • Place the cursor in cell H2
  • Click on the ‘=’ sign in the formula bar
  • Type ‘income-cost’
  • Now, Excel understands which label we mean here


Simple formulas:

To make it clear, in Excel, all calculations are performed using formulas. Each formula begins by placing the equal to sign before it.

  • Addition = A1 + A2
  • Subtraction = A1-A2
  • Division = A1/A2
  • Multiplication = A1 * A2

A formula always consists of two parts: an operation (or operator) and at least one cell.


Arithmetic operations:












Excel uses a specific order in the calculations. If you want to perform multiple operations in one formula it is a little more difficult.

Excel will calculate the percentage first, then perform the exponentiation, then multiplication or divide that are at the same level . All operations are carried out from Left to right, and finally addition and subtraction that are at the same level are also handled from left to right:

1.percentage %
2.exponentiation ^
3.multiplication and division * And /
4.addition and subtraction + And –

To change this order of calculation, you need to group the various operations in paranthesis, otherwise you get undesirable results.
Excel will first perform operations between the parenthesis first:


  • = 9+ 7+ 3 * 5 = 31 ERROR
  • = (9 +7 +3) * 5 = 95 GOOD

Example 2:

  • = 9 + 7 * 3 * 10% = 11.1 ERROR
  • = (9 + ( 7 * 3)) *  10% = 3.0 GOOD

A concrete example:


With the fill handle, you can easily copy the formulas for multiple products.

Syntax of spreadsheet functions

Syntax: = function name ()

The syntax (syntax) of a function is always the same, place the cursor in a cell where there is a formula and you can see the formula is in the formula bar.
The formula always begins with an = sign followed by a function name, eg ‘sum’ and the arguments identifying the cells used are always enclosed in parentheses. Functions always need parentheses, even if there are no arguments for the function, for ex. functions like ‘now’ and ‘today’.
Some worksheet functions are self explanatory.

Examples of such functions are ‘today’, ‘now’ and the ‘sum’:

  • Select a cell
  • Type: = today () (= today ()) and press ‘Enter’.
  • Excel will automatically fill the day in
  • Select a cell
  • Type: = now () (= now ()) and press ‘Enter’
  • Excel will automatically fill the day and the hour.

To adjust the column width double-click the right edge of the column header.

We already know the “Sum” function.

You've completed Lesson 3