This article describes the formula syntax and usage of the SUM function (function: A prewritten formula that takes a value or values, performs an operation, and returns a value or values. Use functions to simplify and shorten formulas on a worksheet, especially those that perform lengthy or complex calculations.) in Microsoft Excel.
The SUM function adds all the numbers that you specify as arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.). Each argument can be a range (range: Two or more cells on a sheet. The cells in a range can be adjacent or nonadjacent.), a cell reference (cell reference: The set of coordinates that a cell occupies on a worksheet. For example, the reference of the cell that appears at the intersection of column B and row 3 is B3.), an array (array: Used to build single formulas that produce multiple results or that operate on a group of arguments that are arranged in rows and columns. An array range shares a common formula; an array constant is a group of constants used as an argument.), a constant (constant: A value that is not calculated. For example, the number 210 and the text "Quarterly Earnings" are constants. An expression, or a value resulting from an expression, is not a constant.), a formula (formula: A sequence of values, cell references, names, functions, or operators in a cell that together produce a new value. A formula always begins with an equal sign (=).), or the result from another function. For example, SUM(A1:A5) adds all the numbers that are contained in cells A1 through A5. For another example, SUM(A1, A3, A5) adds the numbers that are contained in cells A1, A3, and A5.
The SUM function syntax has the following arguments (argument: A value that provides information to an action, an event, a method, a property, a function, or a procedure.):
- number1 Required. The first number argument that you want to add.
- number2,,... Optional. Number arguments 2 to 255 that you want to add.
- If an argument is an array or reference, only numbers in that array or reference are counted. Empty cells, logical values, or text in the array or reference are ignored.
- If any arguments are error values, or if any arguments are text that cannot be translated into numbers, Excel displays an error.
The workbook below shows examples of this function. Inspect them, change existing formulas, or enter your own formulas to learn how the function works.
To work more in-depth with the example data in Excel, download the embedded workbook to your computer, and then open it in Excel.