How To Use Google Sheets Formulas

Last Updated on October 31, 2023 by Jake Sheridan

In this tutorial, you will learn how to use Google Sheets formulas.

How To Use Google Sheets Formulas

Google Sheets isn’t just a tool for storing data, it can also be used to perform numerical calculations using formulas.

In addition to the basic arithmetic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, Google Sheets comes with a number of built-in functions that can be used in formulas to customize your calculations to your specific needs.

Summing a Column

Probably the most commonly used formula in Google Sheets is the SUM formula.

SUM is used to add together all of the numerical values in a range.

To use SUM to add the values in a column, follow these steps:

Step 1

Select a cell to enter the SUM formula in, and type the following: “=SUM(”.

That’s the equals sign to tell Google Sheets you are entering a formula, then the name of the function we’re using in the formula which is SUM, and then open parenthesis.

When using formulas in Google Sheets, you will often find you type the function name, followed by parenthesis.

The parameters of the function, or the data the function performs the calculations on, go inside the parenthesis

Step 3

Next we need to add the reference to a column of numbers to sum.

The easiest way to do this is to simply click on the column letter header at the top of the column you want to sum. You’ll see the reference to that column added to the SUM formula you’re typing

Step 4

Type a closing parenthesis to finish the formula and hit enter.

You’ll see the calculated sum appear in the formula cell. If you update the numbers in the summed column, the sum will update accordingly.

Other Functions in Google Sheets

In addition to the SUM function, there are a number of different functions you can use in formulas in Google Sheets.

You can look up the complete list here with explanations of what each function does and how to use it here:

You can also add together multiple functions or cell values into a single formula using mathematical operators + (addition), – (subtraction), * (multiplication) and / (division).

For example, you could add the value from a cell to the sum formula we just entered by typing the following formula: “=SUM(A:A) + E2

There’s no limit to what you can do with formulas in Google Sheets, using the available functions and mathematical operators.

Just remember to start each formula with the equals sign and close all your parentheses, otherwise Google Sheets may give an error.


Example Spreadsheet: Make a copy of the example spreadsheet

In this tutorial, I covered how to use Google Sheets formulas. Want more? Check out all the Google Sheets Tutorials.