Skip to content

5. Sheets: Use the SUM Function to Analyze Data

Playback speed:

In the previous video, you used the quick reference tool to count the numbers in your sheet.

This is useful when you want to make calculations for a specific range of cells quickly.

But sometimes you need calculations to be completed automatically, even when the contents of the cells change, without having to select and re-total the numbers.

To do this, use a SUM function.

Functions make calculations easier, faster, and more accurate.

To begin, type the function next to the range of cells you want to add; in this case, the size large shirts.

Functions in Google Sheets always start with an equals sign.

Next, type the word SUM.

A menu provides formatting help.

Select SUM.

Then, select the cells you want to add.

Finish with a close parenthesis.

And press enter to complete the function.

Nice job!

Check your work by selecting the cells in the row and noting the quick reference sum.

Now, replace one of the numbers in the row with a new number.

Press enter to update the function.

Your sum updated automatically!

Undo your change so your data isn’t affected.

To copy the function to the other rows, click the handle in the corner of the cell...

...and drag it up or down to populate the other rows.

Then use the same function to sum up the totals for each shirt order...

...and the totals for all shirt sizes.

Next, label the new column...

...give your table a title...

...and match the formatting of your other table, if you like.


  1. Use the SUM function to add the number of shirts sold by size.
  2. Use the SUM function to add the total number of shirts sold.
  3. Give the table a title.
  4. Add fill colors, bold formatting, and center alignment to the data.