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Part 3. Using Excel > Task 15 How to Use AutoSum

Task 15 How to Use AutoSum

A function is a built-in formula. You give the function the required arguments (variables), and it computes the result. For the SUM function, all you have to specify is the range you want to total. The Standard toolbar provides quick access to SUM as well as some other commonly used functions such as AVERAGE (calculates average of a range), MIN (finds the minimum), MAX (finds the maximum), and COUNT (counts the items in a range). You will learn how to enter other functions in Task 16, "How to Enter Functions."

  1. Select a Location for the Result

    Select the cell in which you want the result of the function to appear (usually at the end of a row or column of numbers).



  2. Click AutoSum

    On the Standard toolbar, click the AutoSum button.



  3. The SUM Formula Is Entered

    The AutoSum button inserts the SUM function formula for you, and surrounds the cells being summed with a flashing border. A yellow ScreenTip lists the arguments used in the SUM function.



  4. Complete the Entry

    If the flashing border is surrounding all the cells you want to sum, press Enter to complete the formula. If the surrounded cells are wrong, drag to select the cells you want summed (the flashing border surrounds the cells you drag); then press Enter. The result is displayed in the cell.



  5. Create an Average with AutoSum

    You can use a drop-down menu of function options available through the AutoSum button to quickly insert functions. To create a function that calculates averages, select the cell in which you want the result to appear and then click the arrow on the AutoSum button. From the drop-down list of options, select Average.



  6. Complete the Entry

    A flashing border surrounds the range Excel thinks you want to use in this function. Drag to select another range if needed, and then press Enter to complete the entry. The result is displayed in the cell; the formula used to calculate that result appears in the Formula bar.




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