This tutorial will teach you how to set up and calculate a running total with Excel.
To calculate a running total, you’ll need to use the SUM function with a combination of absolute and relative references. Mixed references will allow you to create a growing total that is anchored to the initial value.
Let’s start with an example to demonstrate:
Running Total Formula
This is how to use the SUM formula: =SUM($Column$Row:ColumnRow)
In the first row, the example use =SUM($C$4:C4). This formula is telling Excel to add all the values from cell C4 to C4, which is only one cell and will give you the answer of $50. As we copy this formula down, Excel will sum C4 to C5, C4 to C6, etc.
Absolute vs Relative Cell References
The $ symbols in the formula freeze the cell reference ($C$4) in place. As you copy the formula down, the formula will always start with cell C4. This is called an absolute reference.
The second value in the formula (C4), does not have $s and is therefore a relative reference. A relative reference will change when you copy the formula into the next row.
By creating a mixed cell reference like this, we can create a running total.