Create Sums In Excel With A Keyboard Shortcut

If you use Excel regularly, you should already know that you can see the sum of a group of cells by selecting them and looking in the bottom right of the Excel window. But if you actually want to enter a SUM formula, there's a handy keyboard shortcut to make it easier.

Helen Bradley (one of our favourite tech writers) notes that if you type Alt-=, the SUM function is automatically entered. OK, SUM isn't the hardest sequence to remember, but in a complex spreadsheet the time savings will add up.

This is joining my existing list of favourite Excel keyboard shortcuts, which already includes using Alt-Enter for a line break. I also learned another one from Helen's post: Control-' will copy the contents of the cell above the current cell.

For more, check our list of the six most useful keyboard shortcuts in Excel and check out cheat sheets to learn even more.

5 Cool Excel 2010 tips and tricks [Helen Bradley]


    Its not exactly useful at all. If you work with spreadsheets often, it'll probably be much quicker to just type =sum(a1:14) instead of trying to remember such a key combination. This might be fine if you dont know how to type, but for anyone else its probably quicker to type. Now navigation and filling cells with the keyboard, that's a skill that once mastered can drastically speed up your excel usage

      I don't find the argument 'I can type 11 characters faster than one paired keystroke' very convincing, I have to say. Agree that navigation keys are very useful though.

      I can't say I agree MassiveTom. I've had to type =SUM() a lot and already I can see that keyboard shortcut is miles better than typing it out manually.

      Thanks Angus, I've been too slack to look for the shortcut myself.

        i on the other hand tend to agree wiith massivetom for a slightly different reason. I find that if i am not working in a perfectly clean and well formatted spreadsheet (which is the case more often than not in my organisation unfortunately), excel can almost never figure out what i am trying to sum and so gets it wrong, forcing me to waste valuable seconds fixing the problem. On top of this, relying on functions like autosum will often lead to making mistakes than are extremely difficult to troubleshoot in large documents

    Sum is great but if subtotal() is a better function using fuction 9
    subtotal ignores other subtotals

    FYI, if you have an autofilter currently applied, ALT-= creates a "SUBTOTAL(9," formula - just like the SUM button on the standard toolbar.

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