I’m a complete dunce when it comes to spreadsheets as I’ve never had to use them. The last time I even opened one was over 10 years ago and on a PC.

In my spreadsheet I need to add up the totals from various columns to have an overall total. I tried to enter the following:

=Sum:(b21:c21:d21:e21:f21:g21)

Which I thought would work but I get a little red triangle and the explanation “The formula contains a syntax” which does really mean much to me.

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

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Jools

So the SUM function works by taking a range of cells. Like from B1 to B21. That would look like =SUM(B1:B21).

You can add together functions with a simple +. So you can get the totals of the cells 1 to 21 of column B with SUM(B1:B21) and then add it to the total of cells 1 to 21 of C with +SUM(C1:C21)

=SUM(B1:B21)+SUM(C1+C21)

So to do that for all of the columns, you could do:

=SUM(B1:B21)+SUM(C1+C21)+SUM(D1+D21)+SUM(E1+E21)+SUM(F1+F21)+SUM(G1+G21)

A better way to do it would be to simply have the total at the bottom of each column So B22 would be =SUM(B1:B22).

Then do that for columns C through G. Copy and paste to do it fast.

Then have H22 be =SUM(B22:G22).

This way you have the totals of each column, and then the total of the whole thing.

Another way to do it would be to use the simple formula =SUM(B1:G22) which would give the sum of the entire area. That’s may not be as useful, depending on your needs.

And the best way to do it in Numbers is to use a Footer row. Setting row 22 as a footer and rows 1-21 as just regular cells means that you can use =SUM(B) in B22 and it will calculate the sum of all non-footer cells in B. Then you can go from there.

See: http://macmost.com/numbers-headers-and-footers.html

This was really helpful, thanks so much!

I am a novice as to use of numbers, but that has been a benefit as I found simple solutions thanks to the design of numbers (and Gary’s Podcasts). One really simple way I create sums is to simply select the cells I want to sum and then use the “Sum” button in the lower left window. I can choose any number of cells with a simple control click and then choose where I want the sum to be and drag and drop the “sum” button to the cell I want. I use this for a simple daily tally of receipts and expenses. I can also select an entire column this way and then as I enter data it automatically places the current sum where I have placed the “sum” tab. MY question is how to repeat this for a new column without having to do the entire drag and drop process again and again.

Thanks for the tip!

Have you tried copy and paste? If the last cell in column B has a formula in it, and you copy it and paste it into the last row in column C, then the formula pastes appropriately. Try it. You can even copy the last cell in B, and select the last cell in multiple rows, and one paste will paste in the formula multiple times.

Gary, Once again you remind me of the power of “just try it”. Your suggestion worked! I had assumed the copy and paste process would bring with it the data entries. Nope. Only the formulas I had been used were copied and when I pasted, the cells remained empty, awaiting my data input. I am sooooo glad I got Numbers and appreciate your tutoring. BTW, I also have Numbers on my iPad and it works like a charm with iCloud saving and sharing the data. The trick of copy and paste was synced with my iPad. Thanks.

Jools,

If all you have in columns B through G are the numbers you wish to SUM, you can write the very brief expression: =SUM(B:G)

Jerry