Running total is the total which gets updated when there is a new entry in the data, in excel the normal function to calculate the total is sum function, so if we have to calculate the running total to see how the data changes with every new entry then that means the first row reference will be absolute while others change and that is the method of calculating running total in excel.
Excel Running Total
Running Total in Excel is also called as “Cumulative” which means it is the summation of numbers increasing or growing in quantity, degree or force by successive additions. Running total in excel is basically used in determining the number of observations that lie above or below a particular value in the dataset. Cumulative tables are also used to analyze and understand a large amount of information. In this article, we will learn how to calculate the running total in excel
How to Calculate Running Total (Cumulative Sum) in Excel?
Below are the examples of Running Total in Excel.
Example #1 – Performing “Running Total or Cumulative” with Simple Formula
Let’s assume that we have the data our expenses on a monthly basis as follows:
From this data, we can observe that we spent 3,25,000 in total from January to December.
Now, Let’s see how much of my total expenses were made by the end of the months. We are going to use a simple formula in excel to make the calculation as required.
First, we should consider the amount spent in a particular month i.e. January as we are considering our spent calculation from the month of January.
Now, calculate the money spent for the rest of the months as follows:
February – C3 +D2
Running Total for February month is 45000.
For the next month onwards we have to consider the money spent till the previous month and money spent in the current month. i.e.
March – C4+D3
Similarly, for the rest of the months and the result would be as follows:
From the above result, we can observe that by the end of the year i.e. December we had spent 3,25,000 which is the total spent amount from the starting of the year. This running total will tell us how much we had spent on a particular month.
Till the month of July, we had spent 1,88,000, till November we had spent 2,94,000.
We can also use this data (running total) for certain analysis.
Q1) If we want to know by which month we had spent 90,000?
- A) April – We can see the cumulative column from the table and it shows that cumulative spent till April month is 90,000.
Q2) Suppose if we want to know the % of money spent that we had spent till July?
- A) 58% – We can take the amount spent till July and divide it by total amount spent as follows.
We had spent 58% of money till july.
Example #2 – Performing “Running Total or Cumulative” with “SUM” Formula
In this example, we will use the “SUM” function instead of the “+” operator to calculate the running total or cumulative in Excel.
Apply the SUM Formula here.
While using SUM function we should consider summing the earlier month spent and a current month spent. But for the first month, we should add earlier cell i.e. Cumulative/Running total which will be considered as zero.
Then drag the formula to other cells.
Example #3 – Performing “Running Total or Cumulative” with a Pivot Table
We can see the pivot table is created, Now drag the month column into rows field & drag the amount spent column into values field and table would be as follows:
In order to create running total value, again drag the “Amount spent” column into values field. Then right click on the column as follows:
Click on “Show Value As” and you will get an option of “Running Total As” and click on that.
Now you can see the table with a column having cumulative values as follows:
We can change the name of the table by editing the cell that has a Sum of Amount Spent2.
Example #4 – Performing “Running Total or Cumulative” with a Relative Named Range
In order to perform Excel running total with a relative named range, we need to do some temporary changes in the excel options.
Change Excel reference style from A1 to R1C1 from excel options as below:
Reference style R1C1 refers to Row 1 and Column 1. In this style, we can find a positive and negative sign which are used for a reason.
In Rows: – +(Positive) sign refers to Downward direction.
– (Negative) sign refers to Upward direction.
Ex- R refers to connect the cell which is 3 rows below the current cell and R[-5] refers to connect the cell which is 5 rows above the current cell.
In Columns: – +(Positive) sign refers to Right direction.
– (Negative) sign refers to Left direction.
Ex- C refers to connect the cell which is 2 columns right to the current cell and C[-4] refers to connect the cell which is 4 columns left to the current cell.
In order to use the reference style to calculate running total in excel, we have to define a name with certain criteria.
In our example, we have to define name by “R[-1]C” because we are calculating the cumulative which is the sum of the previous row of the cell and column with every individual month expense. Define a name in excel with “Cum”(You can define as per your wish) as follows:
Go to Formulas tab and select define name.
Then New Name window will pop out and give the name as per your wish and give the condition that you want to perform for this particular name that you defined. Here we take R[-1]C because we are going to sum the previous row of the cell and column with every individual month expense.
Once the name is defined then go to the column of Cumulative/Running Total and use the defined name into SUM function as follows:
This tells to perform SUM with the cell RC[-1} and Cum (Which is already defined) and in the first cell we get the same expense that incurred in the month of January.
Then drag down the formula till the end of the table and we can see the cumulative results will be out as below:
Things to Remember About “Running Total/Cumulative” in Excel
- Excel Running Total/Cumulative will help in analyzing the information from the data for decision-making purposes.
- Relatively named range type of running total is performed in order to avoid the problems with inserting and deleting rows from the data because this kind of operation will refer to the cell as per the condition given though we insert or delete rows or columns.
- Running total/Cumulative in Excel is mostly used in financial modeling and the final value of the cumulative will be the same as the Total Sum.
- “Total Sum” and “Running Total” is different and the key difference is the computation we do. Total Sum will perform the sum of each number in the series of data whereas “Running Total” will sum the previous value with the current value from the data.
This has been a guide to Running Total in Excel. Here we discuss how to Calculate Running Total (cumulative sum) using Simple Formula, SUM Formula, Pivot Table and with Named Range in Excel along with practical examples and downloadable excel template. You may learn more about excel from the following articles –