There are a number of ways to get quick sums in a worksheet — but did you know you can sum a range of values without entering a function or formula?
Have you ever been sitting in a meeting and had someone really important demand a total or deficit that you just don't have in your sheet? It's uncomfortable. Everyone stares at you while you enter the appropriate function. It doesn't take that long, but it makes you feel (and perhaps even look) incompetent, even though you're not. If you're lucky, you can just select the first blank cell adjacent to a single column or row and click AutoSum. That's not so bad, but what if someone wants a subset evaluated? Maybe they want to know the first and second quarter sales for both the north and south regions. It's still easy but requires a bit more finger work — and when you're under a lot of stress, you make mistakes. The next time you need to quickly evaluate values, use the Status bar. You can sum or average a range of values without entering a thing. You can just as easily determine the minimum or maximum value in a range. You can even count the number of entries in a range, all without entering a single function or formula. Simply select the values in question and view the right side of the Status bar. For instance, to quickly discern the sales for the north and south region for the first two quarters in the following sheet, you'd select B2:C3. When you do, the status bar displays Sum= $ 1,415.00 just to the left of the NUM indicator. Notice that the Status bar identifies the resulting value as the sum of the selected range. That's because you can right-click the Status bar and choose from a list of operations. Using this handy feature, you have the answer with just a few clicks. Nobody has to wait, and you look in control, in the know, and efficient!
Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.