How To Keep A Running Total In Google Sheets

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to keep a running total in Google Sheets.

A Running Total is the summation of a sequence of numbers, updated for each new number in the sequence. For example, a company logging daily sales figures might keep a running total to show the sales balance for that month at the end of each day. If it sounds complicated to set up, don’t worry, by following the steps below you can set up a running total in Google Sheets in just a few minutes

Preparing the Spreadsheet

First, we need to set up the spreadsheet to make it easy to calculate a running total

Step 1

The numbers you want to calculate the running total for should be entered going down a column in chronological order. Don’t worry if you don’t have any numbers entered yet, you can just set up the header for now

Step 2

Next, add any additional info you want associated with these numbers in columns to the left of the numbers column. For this example, we’ll use a single column for date, but you can add any number of columns for information such as transaction type, customer, order number, etc.

Step 3

Populate any existing data in these columns. It may be helpful to put in some dummy data if you have no data yet.

Calculating Running Total

Once you have your columns set up, it’s time to calculate running total

Here’s how:

Step 1

Add a header to the column beside the number column and call it Running Total

Step 2

Under the Running Total header, type the following formula: “=B2”, where cell B2 is the first data cell in the column you want to calculate running total for. This formula simply references the number for this row as there are no previous numbers to add it to


Step 3

In the next cell in the Running Total column, type the following formula: “=C2+B3”. This formula takes the previous Running Total calculated in Step 2 (cell C2), and adds the number for the current row to it (cell B3)

Step 4

Drag or copy/paste the formula from Step 3 down as far as desired and the running total will calculate in those cells and update as new data is added

Step 5

If you would like to only display the running balance for rows with data entered, you can update the formula in Step 3 to the following: “=IF(ISNUMBER(B3), C2+B3, “-“)

Step 6

The modified formula checks if there is a number in the data column and only displays the running balance if there is. Otherwise, only a dash will display.


Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to keep a running total in Google Sheets. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.