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Using SUMIF to add up cells in Excel that meet certain criteria

The SUM function in Excel allows you to add up the values in a range of cells. However, sometimes you only want to add up the cells that meet certain criteria. That's where the SUMIF function comes in handy, along with the more capable SUMIFS function.

There are two common scenarios for using SUMIF:

  • You want to add up all the cells in a range that meet a certain criteria, e.g. all cells in a range (e.g. Sales) that contain a value of $500 or higher.
  • You want to add up all the cells in a range where the cells in another range meet a certain criteria, e.g. add up all cells in a column (e.g. Sales) where the cells in another column (e.g. Quantity Sold) is 5 or more.

SUMIF function syntax

The SUMIF function has the following syntax:

=SUMIF(range,criteria,sum_range)

  • range is the range of cells you want to add up. It is required for the function to work.
  • criteria is the criteria which must be met for a cell to be included in the total. It is also required.
  • sum_range is the range of cells that will be added up. It is optional; if you leave it out, Excel will check the criteria against the sum_range. In the two examples above, the first example doesn't need you to provide a sum_range, while the second example does.

One of the tricky things when constructing a SUMIF function is how to present the criteria. Here are some examples to help you:

  • To add up all values that equal 500: enter 500 as the criteria. Excel knows you want to match cells with a value of 500.
  • To add up all values that are greater than 500: enter ">500" as the criteria. Notice the use of quotation marks around the criteria. You'll get an error if you leave those out.
  • To add up all values that are greater than or equal to 500: enter ">=500".

SUMIF in action - adding up all sales that are greater than a certain number.

The following example is a simple way to demonstrate SUMIF in action where we won't include the criteria_range argument. We'll use the first scenario given at the beginning of this lesson.

  • Imagine you have a table showing sales for the week.
  • You want to find the total of sales for only those days where sales were greater than $500.
  • You enter the SUMIF formula in to a cell at the bottom of the column of sales figures (along with the SUM formula to give you the overall total)
    Excel SUMIF function worked example with two arguments
  • Row 14 contains the SUMIF function, and the outcome of the SUMIF function in C14.

SUMIF in action - adding up all sales where the sales quantity is greater than a certain number.

Let's extend the example in the table above to only add up sales where the quantity sold was 5 or more. This is the second scenario described at the start of the lesson.

  • After adding a Quantity column, the table above now looks like this:
    Excel SUMIF function example with three arguments
  • The formula in C4 has been changed to reflect the new criteria, and has also included the sum_range. Now, the SUMIF function checks the quantities in column B to see if they match the criteria supplied, and adds the sales value in column C if they do.

SUMIF where the criteria are text values

You can use SUMIF to add up one column where the value in another column matches a text value in another column. This might be useful in the previous example where we wanted to add up all rows where the Day column included "Monday". There is an example of how to do this in the comments below.

When using text criteria, you can also use the * as a wildcard to match only a portion of the text value. There is an example of how do to this in the comments below.

SUMIF where the criteria is in another cell

You can also use a cell reference as your criteria (i.e. the value in another cell) rather than a number as shown in the examples above. Let's assume that cell D5 contains the value we want to use for our criteria. Here are a couple of examples of formulas using D5:

  • =SUMIF(B18:B23,D5,C18:C23) - this will use the value in D5 as the criteria, and sum any values that equal the value in D5
  • =SUMIF(B18:B23,>D5,C18:C23) - this will NOT work, and Excel will not accept this formula if you type it in.
  • =SUMIF(B18:B23,">"&D5,C18:C23) - this will use >D5 as the criteria, i.e. any values greater than the value in D5.
  • =SUMIF(B18:B23,">="&D5,C18:C23) - this will use >=D5 as the criteria, i.e. any values greater than or equal to the value in D5.

In the third and fourth examples, we have to play a bit of a trick on Excel to get it to recognise our criteria (remember that the second example doesn't work, which is where most people get stuck).

Because we want to combine text (>) with a cell reference (D5) to get our criteria, we have to join them together into a single string of text, which Excel can then understand. This is called concatenation, which you can learn more about here. That's what you'll see in action in the third and fourth example.

Extending the SUMIF function

The SUMIF function is very useful, but has some limitations. For example:

What do you think?

I'd love to hear your feedback about this lesson. Did it help? Is it accurate? Do you have a particular problem you want to solve and you can't quite get the SUMIF function to work for you? Why not add a comment or ask a question about your specific scenario below.