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## Excel Tip – Calculating A Cumulative Sum Or Running Total In Excel

A running total or a cumulative total, these terms are used frequently within Excel and usually refer to the same thing or meaning.

If this calculation is what you need to do, and you’re not using a Pivot Table summary of your data in Excel, which has running totals or percentage running totals as built-in options, you’ll have to get a little more. Use your Excel formulas as there is no built in function or formula for Excel automatically for you. It is very straight forward to get accurate results with a few clicks of your mouse.

You can get the total output using the exact cumulative sum or SUM formula. Usually the SUM formula will be at the bottom or end of the columns of rows or cells that you are adding or ‘summing’ in Excel.

For example we have deposits and withdrawals in our column of values below in A2:A5

AB

1 AMOUNT Total

2 $100.00

3 – $75.00

4 $350.0

5 $100.00

A typical calculation for summing in Excel would be in cell A6 for the following

=SUM(A2:A5) and the result will be $475.00

A running or cumulative total is slightly different as we use the SUM formula on each row and see the total after each deposit and withdrawal on a per-line basis.

So, let’s use the same data, but the formula we can enter in B2

=SUM(B$2:B2).

The $ locks the reference to row 2, as this is the starting point of our reference and it will not change once it is dragged down our column of cells (an absolute reference). In comparison, the reference to B2 will change as we drag the formula into the column—known as the relative reference. This type of reference is called compound reference because it contains a mixture of absolute and relative references.

Go ahead and drag the formula into your column and you should end up with a running total or cumulative balance for your deposits and withdrawals.

AB

1 AMOUNT Total

2 $100.00 $100.00

3 – $75.00 $25.00

4 $350.0 $375.00

5 $100.00 =SUM(B$2:B5)

As you can see in Excel, even if you don’t use a summary pivot table, it’s really easy to get a running or cumulative total using the Excel Sum formula.

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