An Overview of SUM Function | Microsoft Excel

The SUM function is one of the math and trigonometry functions in Microsoft Excel. It can be used as a standalone function as well as in collaboration with the other functions. This article will give you an overview of the SUM function in Excel.


The SUM function returns the summation of the given values inside the function. It accepts numbers, ranges, cell references, or a combination of any of the three.




  • number1: Compulsory. It refers to the first number to calculate the summation. It can be a numerical value (5), a range (B5:B10), a single cell reference (B5), etc.
  • number2: Non-compulsory. It refers to the second number to calculate the summation. The SUM function supports up to 255 numbers.


A numerical value.

Examples of SUM Function

Suppose, you want to calculate the summation of two numbers 4 and 5. The number 4 is in cell A1 and 5 is in cell A2. Now you can use the SUM function to calculate the summation of these two numbers. Just use any one of the following formulas.


Now here are more examples of the SUM function. Take a look.

Examples of SUM Function in Excel

Usage Guide of SUM Function

Step_1: Start with inserting an equal sign (=) in a blank cell.

Step_2: Then type SUM.

Step_3: Type open parenthesis “(“.

As you type the open parenthesis, Excel shows the syntax of the SUM function.

Step_4: Insert the first number to add.

You can directly insert a number, a cell address, or a range.

Step_5: Then insert a comma (,).

After inserting the comma, Excel will ask you for the second argument which is the second number to calculate the summation.

Step_6: Now insert the second number to add.

This way you can insert up to 255 numbers.

Step_7: Finally, add a closing parenthesis “)” to complete the syntax.

Step_8: Now, press ENTER.

The SUM function will return a numerical value which is the summation of the given numbers.


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  • The SUM function can sum up a range of cells that meet certain criteria.
  • It can sum up cells that are adjacent to each other or non-adjacent cells.
  • The function can also be used to sum cells that are in different worksheets or different workbooks.
  • It skips all the blank cells or cells with texts while calculating.
  • The SUM function accepts up to 255 numbers inside it.


The SUM function is one of the math and trigonometry functions in Excel. If you have any questions regarding the SUM function, please comment below. Thanks!

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