How to sum a column in Google Sheets

Google sheet allows you to use many functions on a data set. Functions are convenient mathematical operations that can convert raw data into usable information. One such function is the SUM function, which lets you sum up numeric data in a column.

Formula for the SUM Function

The SUM Function totals the values of specific cells, a particular row or column. To use the SUM function, you may use the following formula:

= SUM(A1: A5): Sums cells A1 through A5


=SUM(A1, A5): Sums cells A1 and A5

Here are a few things you should remember while using the SUM function:

1. The word SUM denotes the function name. The bracket () encapsulates the cells in a row or a column that contain the numeric data.

2. The cell reference before the ‘:’ denotes the cell from which the summation begins.

3. ‘:’ allows you to input a range of adjacent cells, and ‘,’ allows you to input non-consecutive cells.  

4. The cell after the semicolon denotes the cell where the summation ends.

3 ways to sum a column in Google Sheets

  • Method 1: Manually type the formula in the cell
  • Method 2: Using the Insert Function Option
  • Method 3: SUM a Column on a Cellular Device

Method 1: Manually type the formula in the cell

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

Step 2: Type =SUM(A1:A5). Replace the cell references with the range you want to sum. Note that you can also sum non-consecutive cells in a column. You can do this by separating the cell references with a comma (,). For instance, =SUM(A1,A5) would sum up only cells A1 and A5.

Step 3: Press ENTER and your output should now appear in the cell.

Method 2: Using the Insert Function Option

Step 1: Select the cell where you need the Sum Total to appear.

Step 2: Use the SUM Function in EITHER of the TWO WAYS:

  1. Go to the Insert button and select ‘FUNCTION’ and then select ‘SUM’. 


  1. Click on the summation sign (Σ) and then select the SUM Function. 

Step 3: Clicking on SUM will apply the formula to the cell, and you’ll see empty brackets on your screen. You’ll then need to supply the cell references to cells containing the values that you want to sum.

Step 4: To input a cell range, input the first cell (from where you want to start the sum). Then press the SHIFT + down arrow to select the adjacent cells below or above the first cell. This will allow you to select the cell range from a column that you want to sum up. 

To sum cells that don’t occur consecutively in a column, use the comma (,) separator. For instance, if you want to sum up cells A3, A7, and A8, you’d use =SUM(A2,A7,A8).

Step 5: Press ENTER to apply the function.

Method 3: SUM a Column in Google Sheets on a Cellular Device

If you want to sum a column while you’re on a cellular device, you could download the Google Sheets app. We’ll illustrate this method for an Android device, but the process is more or less the same for iOS devices as well.

Step 1: Download the Google Sheets app.

Step 2: Select the cells containing values.

Step 3: A list of functions should appear on the screen. Tap on the SUM function and drag it to the desired cell, or type the formula manually.

Step 4: Once you release the function, you’ll see the computed value.

A Summary of How the SUM Function Works

=SUM (33,78)Adds the numbers 33 and 78111
=SUM (“5”,15, True)Adds 5, 15, and 1. The text “5” is a number, and the value TRUE translates to the number ‘1’.21
=SUM(A4:A6)Adds the values in cells A4, A5, and A629
=SUM(A4:A6, 15)Adds the values in cells A4 through A6, and then adds 15 to that result.44
=SUM(A7,A8, 2)Adds the values in cells A7 and A8, and then add 2 to that result. Non-numeric values are not translated to numbers. So values in A7 and A8 translate to zero and the result is 2.2

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, you’re now in a better position to sum columns in Google Sheets. If you know of more ways to sum up a column, let us know in the comments section below.

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