How to Auto Calculate in Excel

By Cooper Temple

Microsoft Excel is a comprehensive spreadsheet program available as a standalone application or as part of the Microsoft Office suite of software. Excel is used for many personal and professional tasks, most of which involve performing simple and complex calculations. One of the features provided to make a basic calculation even easier is the "auto calculate" function, usually referred to as "AutoSum," which can be used by following a few simple steps.

Step 1

Open the Microsoft Excel program. If you do not have Excel, you can download a 60-day free trial using the link provided in Resources.

Step 2

Populate the blank spreadsheet with data, or open an existing spreadsheet. Because the "AutoSum" function will work only with numbers, make certain that you are using or creating a spreadsheet for which you are trying to establish the sum of a group of numbers.

Step 3

Select a blank cell in which you want the "AutoSum" result to appear. Click once on the "AutoSum" button on the toolbar.

Step 4

Note that the "AutoSum" function automatically selects the nearest group of numbers to total. You can adjust the group of cells by clicking once on one of the small squares on any corner of the grouping and dragging up, down or side to side while holding down the mouse button. Press the "Enter" key once after you have finished making your selection.

Step 5

View the total of the group of numbers that you selected. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for any group of numbers for which you want to calculate and display a total.