Calculate a running total

Let's say you want to see the number of products in an inventory list grow as you add products each day. Use a running total (also called a running count) to watch the number of items in a spreadsheet add up as you enter new items. To calculate a running total, use the following procedure.

  1. Set up a worksheet like the following example.


The example may be easier to understand if you copy it to a blank worksheet.

ShowHow to copy an example

  1. Create a blank workbook or worksheet.
  2. Select the example in the Help topic.

 Note   Do not select the row or column headers.

Selecting an example from Help

Selecting an example from Help
  1. Press CTRL+C.
  2. In the worksheet, select cell A1, and press CTRL+V.
  3. To switch between viewing the results and viewing the formulas that return the results, press CTRL+` (grave accent), or on the Formulas tab, in the Formula Auditing group, click the Show Formulas button.
Product Description Running total
Sandbox Sturdy but a bit worn 1
Beach toys Hardly used =1+C2
Swing set Weathered, but still safe =1+C3
  1. Click anywhere outside cell C4 to see the running total.
  2. To maintain the running total, add a row for each new entry by doing the following:
  1. Type the product and description into the empty rows directly below the existing data.

For instance, if you were using the example above, you would type the products into A5, A6, and so on, and the descriptions into B5, B6, and so on.

  1. Extend the running total formula into the new rows by selecting the last cell in the balance column and then double-clicking the fill handle (fill handle: The small black square in the lower-right corner of the selection. When you point to the fill handle, the pointer changes to a black cross.).

For instance, if you were using the example above, you would select cell C3 and then double-click its fill handle to extend the formula into all new rows that contain products and descriptions.

 Note   A running total differs from a running balance, in which you watch the sum of values grow as new entries are added. For more information, see Calculate a running balance.

Applies to:
Excel 2003