by Svetlana Cheusheva, updated on
This tutorial explains the Excel SUMIF function in plain English. The main focus is on real-life formula examples with all kinds of criteria including text, numbers, dates, wildcards, blanks and non-blanks.
Microsoft Excel has a handful of functions to summarize large data sets for reports and analyses. One of the most useful functions that can help you make sense of an incomprehensible set of diverse data is SUMIF. Instead of adding up all numbers in a range, it lets you sum only those values that meet your criteria.
So, whenever your task requires conditional sum in Excel, the SUMIF function is what you need. A good thing is that the function is available in all versions, from Excel 2000 through Excel 365. Another great thing is that once you've learned SUMIF, it will take you very little effort to master other "IF" functions such as SUMIFS, COUNTIF, COUNTIFS, AVERAGEIF, etc.
The SUMIF function, also known as Excel conditional sum, is used to add up cell values based on a certain condition.
The function is available in Excel 365, Excel 2021, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, Excel 2010, Excel 2007, and lower.
The syntax is as follows:
As you see, the SUMIF function has 3 arguments - first 2 are required and the last one is optional.
Note. Please pay attention that any text criteria or criteria containing logical operators must be enclosed in double quotation marks, e.g. "apples", ">10". Cell references should be used without the quotation marks, otherwise they would be treated as text strings.
To better understand the SUMIF syntax, consider the following example. Suppose you have a list of products in column A, regions in column B, and sales amounts in column C. Your goal is to get a total of sales for a specific region, say North. To have it done, let's build an Excel SUMIF formula in its simplest form.
You start with defining the following arguments:
Putting the arguments together, we get the following formula:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "north", C2:C10)
=SUMIF(B2:B10, F1, C2:C10)
Both formulas only sum sales in the North region:
Note. The sum_range parameter actually defines only the upper leftmost cell of the range to be summed. The remaining area is defined by the dimensions of the range argument. In practice, this means that sum_range argument does not necessarily have to be of the same size as range argument, i. e. it may have a different number of rows and columns. However, the top left cell must always be the right one. For example, in the above formula, you can supply C2, or C2:C4, or even C2:C100 as the sum_range argument, and the result will still be correct. However, the best practice is to provide equally sized range and sum_range.
Note. The SUMIF function is case-insensitive by nature. However, it is possible to force it to recognize the text case. For full details, please see Case-sensitive SUMIF in Excel.
Hopefully, the above example has helped you gain some basic understanding of how the function works. Below you will find a few more formulas that demonstrate how to use SUMIF in Excel with various criteria.
To sum numbers greater than or less than a particular value, configure the SUMIF criteria with one of the following logical operators:
In the table below, supposing you wish to add up the sales numbers for the items that ship in 3 or more days. To express this condition, put a comparison operator (>) before the number and surround the construction in double quotes:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, ">3", B2:B10)
If the target number is in another cell, say F1, concatenate the logical operator and cell reference:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, ">"&F1, B2:B10)
In a similar manner, you can sum values smaller than a given number. For this, use the less than (<) operator:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<3", B2:B10)
A SUMIF formula with the "equal to" criteria works for both numbers and text. In such criteria, the equals sign is not actually required.
For instance, to find a total of the items that ship in 3 days, either of the below formulas will do:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, 3, B2:B10)
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "=3", B2:B10)
To sum if equal to cell, supply a cell reference for criteria:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, F1, B2:B10)
Where B2:B10 are the amounts, C2:C10 is the shipment duration, and F1 is the desired delivery time.
Likewise, you can use the "equal to" criteria with text values. For instance, to add up the Apples amounts, choose any of the formulas below:
=SUMIF(A2:A10, "apples", B2:B10)
=SUMIF(A2:A10, "=apples", B2:B10)
=SUMIF(A2:A10, F1, B2:B10)
Where A2:A10 is the list of items to compare against the value in F1.
The above formulas imply that the criterion matches the entire cell contents. Consequently, the SUMIF function will add up Apples sales but not, say, Green Apples. To sum partial matches, construct the "if cell contains" criteria like in this SUMIF wildcard formula.
Note. Please pay attention that, in Excel SUMIF formulas, a comparison or equals operator should always be enclosed in double quotes, whether used on its own or together with a number or text.
To build the "not equal to" criteria, use the "<>" logical operator.
When a value, either text or number, is hardcoded in the criteria, remember to surround the entire construction with double quotes.
For example, to sum the amounts with shipment other than 3 days, the formula goes as follows:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<>3", B2:B10)
To find a total of all the items except Apples, the formula is:
=SUMIF(A2:A10, "<>apples", B2:B10)
When the criterion is in another cell, concatenate the "not equal to" operator and a cell reference like this:
=SUMIF(A2:A10, "<>"&F1, B2:B10)
This example shows how to sum cells in one column if a corresponding cell in another column is blank. There are two formulas to fulfill the task. Which one to use depends on your interpretation of a "blank cell".
If "blank" means cells that contain absolutely nothing (no formula, no zero-length string returned by some other function), then use "=" for criteria. For example:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "=", C2:D10)
If "blank" includes empty strings (for example, cells with a formula like =""), then use "" for criteria:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "", C2:D10)
Both formulas return a total of sales for undefined regions, i.e. where a cell in column B is blank:
To make "if cell is not blank then sum" kind of formula, use "<>" as the criteria. This will add up all cells that contain anything in them, including zero-length strings.
For instance, here's how you can sum sales for all the regions, i.e. where column B is not blank:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "<>", C2:D10)
When adding up numbers in one column based on text values in another column, it's important to differentiate between exact and partial match.
|Sum if equal to||Exact match:
=SUMIF(A2:A8, "bananas", C2:C8)
|Sum values in cells C2:C8 if a cell in column A in the same row contains exactly the word "bananas" and no other words or characters. Cells containing "green bananas", "bananas green", or "bananas!" are not included.|
|Sum if cell contains||Partial match:
=SUMIF(A2:A8, "*bananas*", C2:C8)
|Sum values in cells C2:C8 if a corresponding cell in column A contains the word "bananas", alone or in combination with any other words. Cells containing "green bananas", "bananas green", or "bananas!" are summed.|
|Sum if not equal to||Exact match:
=SUMIF(A2:A8, "<>bananas", C2:C8)
|Sum values in cells C2:C8 if a cell in column A contains any value other than "bananas". If a cell contains "bananas" together with some other words or characters like "yellow bananas" or "bananas yellow", such cells are summed.|
|Sum if cell does not contain||Partial match:
=SUMIF(A2:A8, "<>*bananas*", C2:C8)
|Sum values in cells C2:C8 if a cell in column A does not contain the word "bananas", alone or in combination with any other words. Cells containing "yellow bananas" or "bananas yellow" are not summed.|
For real-life formula examples, please check out Sum if equal to and Sum if not equal to.
In the next section, we'll take a closer look at SUMIF formulas with partial match.
To conditionally sum cells by partial match, include one of the following wildcard characters in your criteria:
Suppose you wish to total sales for all northern regions, including North, North-East, and North-West. To have it done, put an asterisk right after the word "north":
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "north*", C2:D10)
An asterisk on both sides will also work:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "*north*", C2:D10)
Alternatively, you can type the region of interest in a predefined cell (F1), and then concatenate a cell reference and a wildcard character enclosed in quotes:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, F1&"*", C2:D10)
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "*"&F1&"*", C2:D10)
To match a literal question mark or asterisk, place a tilde (~) before the character, e.g. "~?" or "~*".
For example, to sum sales for the regions marked with *, use "*~*" for criteria. In this case, the first asterisk is a wildcard and the second one is a literal asterisk character:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "*~*", C2:D10)
If the criteria (* in our case) is entered in a separate cell, then concatenate a tilde and the cell reference, like this:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "*"&"~"&F1, C2:D10)
If your dataset contains various data types and you only want to sum cells corresponding to text values, the following SUMIF formulas will come in handy.
To add up values in cells C2:C8 if a cell in column A contains any text character(s):
To sum values in C2:C8 if a cell in column A contains any text value, including zero length strings:
Both of the above formulas ignore non-text values such as numbers, dates, errors, and Booleans.
Using dates as SUMIF criteria is very much like using numbers. The most important thing is to supply a date in the format that Excel understands. If you are not sure which date format is supported and which is not, the DATE function can be a solution.
Assuming you are looking to sum sales for the items delivered before 10-Sep-2020, the criteria can be expressed in this way:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<9/10/2020", B2:B10)
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<"&DATE(2020,9,10), B2:B10)
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<"&F1, B2:B10)
Where F1 is the target date.
To sum cells based on today's date, include the TODAY function in your criteria. For example, that's how you calculate a total of sales with a delivery date prior to today:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<"&TODAY(), B2:B10)
To sum within a date range, you need to define a smaller and larger date separately. This can be done with the help of the SUMIFS function that supports multiple criteria.
For example, to sum values in column B if a date in column C is between two dates, this is the formula to use:
=SUMIFS(B2:B10, C2:C10, ">="&F1, C2:C10, "<="&G1)
Where B2:B10 is the sum range, C2:C10 is the list of dates to check, F1 is the start date and G1 is the end date.
More formula examples can be found in SUMIFS with date range as criteria.
To conditionally sum data from a different sheet, provide external references for the SUMIF arguments. The easiest way is to start typing a formula, switch to another worksheet and select ranges using the mouse. Excel will insert all the references automatically, without you having to worry about the correct syntax.
For instance, the below formula will add up values in C2:C10 on the Data sheet based on the criteria in B3 on Sheet1:
=SUMIF(Data!B2:B10, B3, Data!C2:C10)
To create a flexible formula, you normally insert all variable parameters in predefined cells instead of "hardcoding" them. With Excel SUMIF, that might be a bit of a challenge.
In the simplest case when summing "if equal to", you simply use a cell reference for criteria. For example:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, F1, B2:B10)
But when a cell reference is used together with a logical operator, the criteria should be provided in the form of a string. So, you use the double quotes ("") to start a text string and ampersand (&) to concatenate and finish the string off. For example:
=SUMIF(C2:C10, ">"&F7, B2:B10)
Please note that the comparison operators are enclosed in quotation marks while the cell references are not.
There could be several reasons why Excel SUMIF is not working for you. Sometimes, your formula does not return what you expect only because the data type in a cell or in some argument isn't suited for the SUMIF function. Below is a list of important things to check.
The syntax of the SUMIF function has room for only one condition. To sum with multiple criteria, either use the SUMIFS function (adds up cells that meet all the conditions) or build a SUMIF formula with multiple OR criteria (sums cells that meet any of the conditions).
For a SUMIF formula to work correctly, the range and sum_range argument should have the same dimensions, otherwise you may get misleading results. The point is that Microsoft Excel does not rely on the user's ability to provide matching ranges, and to avoid possible inconsistency issues, it determines the sum range automatically in this way:
Sum_range defines only the upper left cell of the range that will be summed, the remaining area is determined by the size and shape of the range argument.
Given the above, the below formula will actually sum cells in C2:C10 and not in C2:D10. Why? Because range consists of 1 column and 9 rows, and so does sum_range.
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "north", C2:D10)
In older Excel versions, unequally sized ranges can cause lots of problems. In modern Excel, complex SUMIF formulas where sum_range has less rows and/or columns than range are also capricious. That is why it's a good practice to always define the same number of rows and columns for these two arguments.
Though SUMIF can process an array constant in criteria like shown in this example, it does not support arrays in range and sum_range. These two arguments can only be cell ranges.
For criteria, the SUMIF function allows using different data types including text, numbers, dates, cell references, logical operators (>, <, =, <>), wildcard characters (?, *, ~) and other functions. The syntax of such criteria is quite specific.
If the criteria argument includes a text value, wildcard character or logical operator followed by text, number or date, enclose the whole criteria in quotation marks. For example:
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "north*", C2:D10)
=SUMIF(B2:B10, "<>north", C2:D10)
=SUMIF(C2:C10, "<=9/10/2020", B2:B10)
When a logical operator is followed by a cell reference or another function, the criteria should be provided in the form of a string. So, you use an ampersand (&) to concatenate a logical operator and a reference or function. For example:
=SUMIF(C2:D10, "<="&TODAY(), B2:B10)
As with many Excel functions, SUMIF can refer to other sheets and workbooks, provided they are currently open.
For example, this formula will work fine as long as Book1 is open:
And it will stop working as soon as Book1 is closed. This happens because the referenced ranges in closed workbooks get de-referenced into arrays. And since arrays are not supported in the range and sum_range arguments, SUMIF throws a #VALUE! error.
By design, SUMIF in Excel is not case-sensitive, meaning it treats uppercase and lowercase letters as the same characters. To make a case-sensitive SUMIF formula, use the SUMPRODUCT function together with EXACT.
That's how to use SUMIF in Excel. Hopefully, our formula examples have given you some good insights. As always, I thank you for reading and hope to see you on our blog next week!
Excel SUMIF examples (.xlsx file)
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