AutoSum Function in Google Sheets

You may be looking for AutoSum in Google Sheets, but you won’t find it in the built-in menus.

AutoSum in Excel

Traditionally in Microsoft Excel, you would sum, multiply or divide values in a range by keying in the respective function and then specifying the range. You would add the total number of units In the following dataset by applying the formula, “=SUM(D2:D10)“.

column being SUMMED in Excel

However, as demonstrated in 📺this video, Excel provides a built-in intelligent function that automatically detects the range we wish to sum, known as AutoSum. If we place the cursor on cell D11 and click on AutoSum, Excel will figure out on its own that we intend to sum the range, D2:D10.

column of numbers being highlighted with autosum


AutoSum in Google Sheets

Could we do the same in Google Sheets? Well, it’s not as impressive as in Excel. Instead of auto-detecting the range, Google Sheets merely inserts the specified function without the range.

the SUM function appearing in Google Sheets

We could solve this problem using a third-party add-on known as Power Tools.


AutoSum in Google Sheets using Power Tools

To install Power Tools, click on this link.

After you install Power Tools, you can launch it via Add-ons > Power Tools > Start.


function menu in Power Tools


Now that we have the plugin installed, we can repeat the AutoSum operation we did in Excel. To achieve this, click on the cell that needs to add up the total. In our case, we want to get the Units total, so the cell is D11. Now that you have selected the units, head over to the sidebar and click on the AutoSum icon, Σ (not to be confused with the red-underlined Σ). Next, click on SUM in the drop-down that appears. After clicking, the total automatically appears in the cell we selected.


the result of autosum in Google Sheets using Power Tools


Things to note:

  • You can execute operations besides addition using the Power Tools add-on. The drop-down next to the icon provides a wide selection of functions to apply.
  • There’s an AutoSum by color function in  Power Tools, which sums values based on background color and the text color. Find more on that here.

Disclosure: This is an independently owned website that sometimes receives compensation from the company's mentioned products. Prolific Oaktree tests each product, and any opinions expressed here are our own.

0 thoughts on “AutoSum Function in Google Sheets

  • Allan Preston says:

    so, google sheets are inferior to excel? because in excel you can just write =SUM(D1:D99)[enter]
    but in google sheets you have to click click click drag click click

    Seems like excel is MUCH superior

    • Prolific Oaktree says:

      Google Sheets has evolved since this blog post and, if you’re at the bottom of a column and type the = sign, Sheets will use AI to guess you want to SUM the column. You don’t have to type the formula or the reference…I’m just sayin’!

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