How to Add (or Subtract) in a Spreadsheet like Excel

Updated April 17, 2017

Microsoft Excel 2010 can quickly calculate a row or column of numeric values. Simple operations, such as adding and subtracting, can calculate on the worksheet. The "Home" tab includes an "AutoSum" button in the "Editing" group. This sum function contains a formula that adds the values and inserts the total or sum in an adjacent cell.

Open the Excel worksheet.

Enter the values in a row or column.

Click a cell to the right of the row of values or click a cell below the column of values. The selected cell displays a black outline.

Click the "Home" tab.

Click the "AutoSum" button in the "Editing" group. This summation button displays the upper case Sigma. A formula appears with the range of cells.

Press the "Enter" key. The total appears in the selected cell.


Although Excel does not contain a subtract function, you can type a "-" sign to the left of a value. For example, to add 19, 2, subtract 5 and add 9, type 19, 2,-5, 9. Excel will add a negative value.

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