The AutoSum feature is one of the most used features in Excel. It automatically inserts a SUM function into the highlighted cell, complete with Excel’s best guess of the cell range you wish to sum. In this post, we’ll take a look at three ways of inserting this function with an AutoSum keyboard shortcut.
The usual steps to insert the AutoSum function without a keyboard shortcut are:
- Highlight the cell below a column of values, or to the right of a row of values.
- Click on AutoSum in the Formulas tab in the Function Library group.
- Excel will now identify a cell range to sum. It looks for this range either above or to the left of the highlighted cell. It inserts the function into the highlighted cell along with its best guess of the range to sum.
- Check that you are satisfied with the function and press Enter to complete.
Being able to implement this feature with a keyboard shortcut can be quite handy, and as always there are numerous ways of doing the same thing in Excel. I’ve come across 4 different keyboard shortcuts that inserts the AutoSum function.
The 4 AutoSum Keyboard Shortcut Variations in Excel
1. Built-in Keyboard Shortcut
The usual built-in shortcut for the AutoSum function is:
Alt + =
To use it, highlight the cell either below a column of values or to the right of a row of values. Then hold down the Alt key and press =. Confirm that you are happy with Excel’s choice of cell range and press Enter.
2. Via the Quick Access Toolbar
The AutoSum feature can be added to the Quick Access Toolbar (a toolbar located at the top of the Ribbon next to the Save button, used to store your favorite commands for easy access).
To add the AutoSum function as a Quick Access shortcut, do the following:
- Click on the Formulas tab and right-click the AutoSum command in the Function Library group.
- From the drop-down list, choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
You’ll now see a little sum symbol appear in the Quick Access Toolbar. You can access it with the keyboard by pressing the Alt key followed by the contextual number that Excel displays next to it. For instance, on my computer the AutoSum command is in the second position on the toolbar and therefore Excel displays a 4 next to it whenever I press the Alt key (since 1, 2, and 3 are reserved for the Save, Undo, and Redo commands). The keyboard shortcut is therefore:
Alt + 4 (depending on the setup of your toolbar)
If the AutoSum command is located in a different spot on your toolbar, simply replace the 4 above with the number Excel displays next to the AutoSum command when you press the Alt key.
3. Via the Ribbon – Method 1
We can also access the AutoSum command on the Formulas tab via the Ribbon shortcut keys. The shortcut for this is:
Alt + M + U + S
Here’s an explanation. By pressing the Alt key, you are making the Ribbon accessible through the keyboard. Excel displays a letter next to each tab name on the Ribbon. You can now press M to access the Formulas Tab. Excel now displays a letter next to each command in that tab. Press U to open the AutoSum drop-down and finally press S to choose the SUM function from the drop-down list.
Tip: You can insert any of the other 4 auto-functions in a similar way. Simply change the last letter in this shortcut to the one corresponding to the desired function. For instance, to insert the Average auto-function, you’ll use the shortcut Alt + M +U + A.
4. Via the Ribbon – Method 2
The AutoSum drop-down can also be found in the Editing group on the Home tab. We can access it in a similar manner to method 3 above by using this shortcut:
Alt + H + U + S
By pressing the Alt key, you are once again making the Ribbon accessible via the keyboard. Pressing H selects the Home tab, while following that with U opens the AutoSum drop-down menu. Then press S to choose the SUM function from the drop-down list.
We have discussed 4 variations of the AutoSum keyboard shortcut. Once again, they are:
- Alt + =
- Alt + 4 (depending on the setup of your toolbar)
- Alt + M + U + S
- Alt + H + U + S
All of these do the same job. Choose the one that works best for you.