How to use Excel’s SUMIF function to calculate totals by category

If you have a large data set in Excel and you want to calculate totals based on specific criteria, such as sales by region or expenses by department, you can use the SUMIF function. Here’s how:

  1. Open your Excel workbook and select the cell where you want to display the total.
  2. Type =SUMIF( followed by the range of cells that contain the categories you want to sum (e.g., A1:A10), a comma (,), and the criteria you want to use to filter/indicate the category in that range (e.g., "North").
  3. Type another comma (,) followed by the range of cells that contain the values you want to sum (e.g., B1:B10).
  4. Close the parentheses and press Enter.

Your total will be displayed in the selected cell.

Here’s an example formula:


This formula will sum all values in column B (e.g., “Sales”) where the corresponding value in column A is “North.”

Example Data Set

Here’s some sample data I’ll use to demonstrate the SUMIF function’s potential.

Example data set of sales and expenses by region

Example Scenarios

Here are some examples of how you can use SUM and the SUMIF function with the previous data set example:

Total sales for all regions=SUM(B2:B5)625
Total expenses for all regions=SUM(C2:C5)110
Total sales for the North region=SUMIF(A2:A5,"North",B2:B5)100
Total expenses for the South region=SUMIF(A2:A5,"South",C2:C5)30
Total sales greater than $150=SUMIF(B2:B5,">150")375
Total expenses less than $30=SUMIF(C2:C5,"<30")45
Examples of formulas and results for various needs based on the example data

So now imagine that you have three months’ worth of data and “North” appears three times. Your SUMIF function becomes even more valuable as it only sums the North rows’ values.

Hopefully this helps! Let me know if you have any specific questions about using this function with your data.


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