Calculate a conditional running total in Excel

Running totals

Running totals are used to update totals within a series in Microsoft Excel. Usually, a simple expression that adds the previous total to the latest value does the trick. Occasionally, a business rule throws a monkey wrench into the works by forcing special conditions.

A running total is simply a sum as the values occur. In other words, a running total sums the current value and all those that precede it. This screenshoot shows a running total in its simplest form. The expression, which you can see in the Formula bar, adds the preceding running total to the current deposit value. The one catch is that the first cell in the series (=B2 in cell C2) must refer to the first value in the series, because there's nothing to total yet.

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By Susan Harkins

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.