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2. Find Possible Outcomes with a Formula

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In this video, you will start to build your project spreadsheet.

You will: Use the SUM function to determine the possible outcomes of rolling two dice, And copy that formula to the entire data set to save time and be more accurate.

To determine the possible combinations of the two dice your teacher will roll, you will create a chart.

Each possible side of the dice is represented by the rows and columns in the spreadsheet.

You will record all the possible sums and write a formula to calculate them.

To start, review your probability sheet.

The outcomes chart shows each number on die one, the orange die, and on die two, the purple die.

If the dice roll results in two ones, then the sum of the two dice -- or the outcome -- is two.

In your spreadsheet, type a two in the cell where the number one on each die intersect.

In this example, it’s C4.

If the orange die shows a one and the purple die shows a two, the outcome is three.

Add that sum to your spreadsheet.

You can continue to do simple addition to calculate the outcome of each combination of dice, but adding the numbers for each possibility takes a long time.

Instead, use a SUM function in your spreadsheet to complete this task automatically.

A SUM function is a formula that adds the values in cells.

In cells C4 and C5, delete the sums you just calculated.

Then, type the formula.

Formulas in Google Sheets always start with an equals sign.

Next, type the word SUM.

A menu provides formatting help.

Select sum.

In this case, you’re adding the numbers in C3 and B4.

Select cell C3, type a plus sign, then select cell B4.

If you get an error message, make sure you’ve typed the formula exactly as you see here.

Nice job!

To copy that formula to the rest of the column, click the handle in the lower right-hand corner of the cell, hold it, and drag it down the column until you reach the bottom of your list.

The sum will be calculated for each combination of dice.

Now, check your work.


Those numbers don’t look right.

Click into each cell to see the formulas.

Dragging the formula updated the row and the column being added in each cell.

Typical cell references are relative.

That means they change when a formula is copied to another cell.

The formula in C5 calculated C4 plus B5, rather than C3 plus B5.

You want the value of the orange die to stay the same while the value of the purple die changes.

To fix this, use an absolute cell reference.

Absolute cell references remain constant, even when you copy them to another cell or sheet.

Absolute references are important when you want to reference the same cell or range in multiple formulas.

To create an absolute cell reference, add dollar signs to the letter and number.

Then, copy the formula to the rest of the column to update the outcomes.

Great job!

Now, copy the formula to each of the remaining columns.

Double click in the cell to see the formula, then select the formula, copy it, and paste it into the next column.

Add absolute cell references to use the correct cells.

And drag to populate the rest of the columns.

Remember to check your work.

Nice job!

You could use a SUM function in other spreadsheets to add: How much money you spent on snacks last year, or whether you raised enough money for the school band competition.

Now, it’s your turn: Use the SUM function to calculate the possible combinations of rolling two dice, And copy the formula into each column to complete the table.


  1. Use the SUM function to calculate the possible combinations of rolling two dice.
  2. Copy the formula into each column to complete the table.