How to Keep a Running Total in Google Sheets: Simple Steps

Keeping a running total in Google Sheets is simpler than you might think. All you need to do is input your data into the cells, use the SUM function to add them up, and voilĂ ! You’ve got yourself a running total that updates automatically as you input more data. This quick overview should give you the basic idea of what we’re about to dive into.

Step by Step Tutorial: Keeping a Running Total in Google Sheets

Now, let’s break down the steps needed to keep a running total in Google Sheets. This will help you keep track of numbers over time, whether they’re expenses, sales, or any other kind of data.

Step 1: Enter your data

Input the numbers you want to keep a running total of into a column in Google Sheets.

Entering the data is the first step to keeping a running total. Make sure you put each number in a new cell within the same column for the SUM function to work correctly.

Step 2: Use the SUM function

Click on the cell where you want the running total to appear, type =SUM(, and then select the cells you want to add up.

The SUM function is the key to adding up your numbers. After selecting the cells, close the function with a parenthesis and hit Enter. The cell will now display the sum of the selected cells.

Step 3: Expand the range

As you add more data, expand the range of the SUM function to include the new data.

Whenever you add new numbers to your column, you’ll need to update the range in the SUM function to keep the total accurate. Simply click on the cell with the SUM function, and adjust the range to include the new cells.

Step 4: Use Autofill

Drag the fill handle down to copy the SUM function to other cells if you want multiple running totals.

If you need running totals in more than one cell, the Autofill feature is a time-saver. Click on the cell with the SUM function, and drag the blue square (fill handle) down to copy the function to other cells.

After completing these steps, you’ll have a running total that updates every time you add new data to your column. It’s a straightforward way to keep track of numbers and see the cumulative effect over time.

Tips for Keeping a Running Total in Google Sheets

Here are some tips to make keeping a running total even easier:

  • Use absolute references (e.g., $A$1) if you want the SUM range to stay fixed when using Autofill.
  • Format your total cell to highlight it, making it easy to find at a glance.
  • Double-check your range to ensure you’re including all the right cells in the total.
  • Consider using the SUMIF or SUMIFS function for more complex running totals that need to meet certain criteria.
  • Remember that you can undo any mistakes with Ctrl + Z (Cmd + Z on Mac).

Frequently Asked Questions

What if my running total isn’t updating?

Make sure that the range of cells in your SUM function includes all the data you want to add up. If you’ve added new data, you may need to adjust the range.

Can I keep a running total across multiple sheets?

Yes, you can! Use the SUM function and specify the sheet name along with the cell range (e.g., =SUM(Sheet2!A1:A10)).

How do I make sure my running total doesn’t include duplicates?

Use the UNIQUE function to first filter out any duplicates, then sum up the unique values with the SUM function.

Can I use the running total for different types of calculations?

Absolutely! You can replace the SUM function with other functions like AVERAGE, MIN, MAX, etc., to keep a running calculation of different metrics.

Is there a way to automate the running total as I input data?

Yes, by setting the range in the SUM function to include blank cells at the bottom of your data range, the running total will update automatically as you fill in those cells.


  1. Enter your data
  2. Use the SUM function
  3. Expand the range
  4. Use Autofill


Keeping a running total in Google Sheets is a nifty trick that can help you track progress, stay organized, and make better-informed decisions based on your data. Whether you’re managing a budget, tracking sales, or just keeping tabs on daily tasks, this technique can save you time and effort. The beauty of Google Sheets lies in its simplicity and flexibility, allowing even those of us who aren’t spreadsheet wizards to make the most out of our data.

What’s more, the ability to have your totals update automatically as you add more data means that your documents are always current, without the need for manual recalculations. And with the tips and tricks we’ve shared, you’ll be on your way to mastering running totals and maybe even discover some creative ways to use them in your projects. Remember, the key to becoming proficient with Google Sheets is practice and exploration. So roll up your sleeves, dive in, and start crunching those numbers!