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May 08, 2004

Making it all Add Up, Part 1
Excel comes with many functions to help you add up and count without ever reaching for a calculator. Let's have a look at some of the main ones.

SUM
This is a simple but very useful function. Use it to add up numbers quickly and easily. Here's a couple of ways you can use it.

A range of cells in a column (rows are fine too).


Multiple ranges (they can also be separate, just drag any cells you want while pushing the Ctrl Key)


COUNT
This works in a similar way to SUM, but as the name suggests, it counts rather than adds.


COUNTA
This counts text entries only. This includes numbers and error messages such as #VALUE!. It does not count blank cells. (If you look closely, you will notice that I removed a few cells from the selection)


COUNTBLANK
This is the opposite of COUNTA. It only counts blank cells.


AVERAGE, MIN, MAX
These 3 functions also do as the name suggests. They give you the average, maximum and minimum of a range of cells. Use them in the same way as the SUM and COUNT functions.


Status Bar
This is not a function but is very useful when you just want a quick reference. (If you can't see it at the bottom left of the worksheet, go to the Tools Menu at the top, then select Options, View and click the Status Bar checkbox)

Select the function you want to use, then drag your mouse over a range of cell or cells. For multiple ranges , drag while pushing the Ctrl key.


SUBTOTAL
This is yet another useful function. You can see I have entered a '9' before the range of cells A2:A11. This '9' is recognized as the SUM function as per the list below.


1 AVERAGE
2 COUNT
3 COUNTA
4 MAX
5 MIN
6 PRODUCT
7 STDEV
8 STDEVP
9 SUM
10 VAR
11 VARP

You will notice there are a few new formulas that I have not covered yet. PRODUCT is used for simple multiplication. STDEV, STDEVP, VAR, VARP are statistical functions and refer to standard deviation and variance. They are good for things such as quality control or demographics, but as they are slightly more difficult, I think I might cover them some other time :)

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