Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Ordering Up Your Results
Figure 3–14. Adding two ranges-here the two sets of values are treated as two distinct ranges.
Then press Enter.
You get the picture. The comma splices our cell selections into two distinct ranges, thus
leapfrogging the D14:D16 cells.
We’ve now learned a deeper truth about SUM, one that can be projected to all functions: you can
identify any cell or range(s) you want in any formula, and place your formulas in any cell in the
worksheet (so long as the formula isn’t dropped into the very range you’re referencing in the formula).
Remember that AutoSum was devised in order to execute a simplest-case scenario, the spreadsheet
equivalent of a hanging curveball—that classic, add-one-row-or-one-column chore, where the row or
column to be added consists of a range, all of whose cells are filled with numbers. But your formula
requirements may be more nuanced, and the reality is that you can recruit cells and ranges from all
across the worksheet—and even beyond it, as remains to be seen.
Note as well that nothing whatever stops you from typing SUM if you’re so moved, or any other
function in Excel, for that matter. As long as you know the syntax, you’re free to tickle the keys as wish;
and as we’ll see, Excel offers you a number of ways to see to it that whatever you’re writing turns out
And here are some AutoSum shortcuts: The keyboard equivalent for calling up the command is
Alt+=. And if you’re working conventionally, and you know you want to add a standard range of
consecutive numbers in a column: just click in an empty cell at the foot of the column and double-click
the AutoSum button (as it appears in either the Home or Formulas groups). Double-clicking cuts
immediately to the answer, without requiring you to make any additional range decisions.
And one more observation about AutoSum: if you rest your mouse over either of its buttons, the
resulting caption tells you that AutoSum helps you “Display the sum of the selected cells directly after
the selected cells”. But we know that isn’t quite true; as we saw earlier you can leave some space between
the numbers (as long as these are consecutive) and the formula itself in that column or row and still get
AutoSum to work for you, though those empty cells will also be referenced in the formula.
Now, you’ll note that both AutoSum buttons on either tab are accompanied by one of those
dropdown arrows we alerted you to a good many pages ago (Figure 3–15):