Managing finances, tracking sales, or monitoring any kind of data over time requires a dynamic approach to understand trends and make informed decisions.

If you’re using Google Sheets to organize such information, particularly large datasets, there’s a powerful yet simple concept you’ll find invaluable: the Google Sheets running total.

Whether you’re keeping tabs on daily expenses, sales figures, or any other sequential data, knowing how to calculate Google Sheets’s running total can transform the way you interact with your data.

Imagine you’re recording your daily expenses in Google Sheets and wish to view the cumulative sum over a series of consecutive days, such as the total spent in the first 6 days of the month.

Relying solely on the basic summation formula to tally the column’s end would leave you with the aggregate for the entire dataset—which, though useful, is not nuanced.

What you need in such instances is the ability to compute a running total, which dynamically adds up your values as they accrue over time.

In today’s article, we will show you how to calculate Google Sheets running total.

Read on as we go over the basics together.

## Understanding Google Sheets Running Total – A Beginners Guide

When you add up numbers over time in Google Sheets, you can use a “running total” to make things easier.

A running total gives you the cumulative sum of your numbers as you go down the list. It’s like having someone add up the numbers for you automatically.

For example, let’s say you record $100 in cell A1 to track your weekly spending. In cell A2, you spend $25. The running total formula would automatically show $125 in cell A2 – the total spent so far. This total updates each time you add a new number.

Running totals help track expenses, sales, revenue, and more. They save you from manually tallying every row.

There are a few simple ways to get a running total depending on your needs:

- Basic SUM formula
- SUM formula with Array
- Dynamic running total that updates

This easy beginner’s guide explains each method step-by-step. We’ll start with the most basic running total formula using SUM. Follow along to learn how to automatically add up any numbers over time.

## Copy Sample Sheet

If you want to follow along with today’s tutorial, feel free to copy our sample data via the link below.

## Calculating Basic Running Total in Google Sheets (No Array)

Having understood what Google Sheets running total is, it’s time to review the step-by-step process of calculating running total in Sheets.

We will start off by showing you how to calculate the basic running total in Google Sheets using the Sum formula.

Here is the sample data we are going to use to demonstrate the entire process:

Now that we have our sample put together. Let’s review the step-by-step process of calculating Google Sheets running total:**Step 1: Choose an Empty Cell**

Let’s begin by choosing an empty cell in our spreadsheet. This is where we want the result of our running total to be generated.

For this example, we will use cell C2.

**Step 2: Enter the Sum Formula**

With the cell where you want your running total calculated chosen, head to the formula bar and type in the following formula:

**=B2**

**Step 3: Hit Enter**

After entering your formula, as we described in Step 2, simply go ahead and hit the Enter button on your keyboard.

You should see the result instantly generated in the selected cell.

Here is what ours looks like:

**Step 4: Calculate Running Total**

So far, we have gotten our first value in column B2. But that’s just the starting point of calculating Google Sheets running total. To truly understand how Google Sheets running total works, we need to find the next value, which is slightly different from what we did for the first value.

To find the next value, select column C3 and type in the following formula:

**=B3+C2**

To generate the result for that cell, simply go ahead and press the Enter button. You should get the running total in cell C3.

Here is what we got using our sample data:

**Step 5: Generate Results for Other Cells**

As things stand, we have only been able to calculate the running total for only one cell, so we need to do the same for the other cells. But instead of repeating the steps we just showed you, you can use the Google Sheets auto-fill option to generate results for the other cells.

The video below shows you how to execute that:

Now that’s how to calculate Google Sheets running total using basic SUM formula.

## Calculating Running Total using SUM Formula with Array

In the previous section, we showed you how to calculate Google Sheets running total using the basic SUM formula, which was pretty easy.

Now, we want to show you how to do the same, using the SUM formula with Array.

We are going to use the same sample data we used in the first method to show you how to go about it:

**Step 1: Choose an Empty Cell**

Start by choosing an empty cell in your spreadsheet where you want your result to be. For this example, we will go with cell C2.

**Step 2: Enter Formula**

Having selected where you want your result to be, go to the formula bar and type the following formula:

**=SUM($B$2:B2)**

**Step 3: Press Enter**

Once you Enter the Sum formula with Array as we showed you in the previous step, simply hit the Enter button on your keyboard. The first value should be generated in your selected cell.

Here is what we got using our own data:

**Step 4: Calculate Running Total**

Having figured out the first value in column C2, let’s go ahead and calculate the running total, in cell C3.

To do that, navigate to the formula bar and type in the following formula:

**=SUM($B$2:B3)**

After pressing Enter, you should get the following result for the running total for cell C3.

**Step 5: Generate Results for Other Cells**

To calculate the running total beyond cell C3 without manually repeating the process, we can use Google Sheets’ auto-fill feature. This allows us to quickly apply the same formula to other cells, saving time and effort.

The video below shows you exactly how to use the Google Sheets auto-fill feature to populate the result for the other cells:

After walking through the steps to find a running total using the Sum formula with an array, you can see the process is surprisingly simple. Just follow the steps we showed you using your own data, and you should get the desired result.

## Evolving from Arrays to Dynamic Running Totals

In the last section, we used the SUM formula with array to calculate a running total that updates automatically when new data is added. But there is an even more dynamic method referred to as the “Dynamic Running Total.”

As the name suggests, this technique pre-populates the entire Running Total column in your Sheet with the formula upfront. Then, whenever you input an additional amount, the totals self-update without needing to copy down or add new formulas.

The effect is a seamless and fluid running tally. As if an invisible hand is maintaining the totals for you.

To accomplish this automation, we can harness the basic Sum formula and the one with array we covered previously.

By extending these across the entire column ahead of time, the running total becomes flexible enough to grow your data.

Let’s see the true dynamic power of running totals in action next.

## Dynamic Running Total with Basic SUM

Now that you understand how the dynamic running total works, let’s implement the dynamic running total technique on our sample data using the basic SUM formula.

**Step 1: Choose an Empty Cell**

Like you did with the other method, you need to choose an empty cell in your spreadsheet. This is where the first value will be generated. For this example, we will go with cell C2.

**Step 2: Input Formula**

Now, navigate to the formula bar and type the following formula:

**=IF(ISBLANK(B2), “”,B2+0)**

**Step 3: Press Enter**

To get the result of the first value after entering the formula as we discussed in the previous step, all you need to do is press the Enter button on your keyboard.

You should see the result almost instantly in the selected cell.

Here is what we got with our sample data:

**Step 4: Calculate the Dynamic Running Total**

To calculate the dynamic running total for our sample data, let’s select cell C3. Here, we are going to enter the following formula:

**=IF(ISBLANK(B3), “”,B3+C2)**

**Step 5: Press Enter**

To get the result for the dynamic running total, simply press the Enter button. The result should be in the selected cell.

Here is what we got:

**Step 6: Generate Dynamic Results for Other Cells**

From the previous step, you can see that we only generated the dynamic running total for cell C3. Now, let’s get the result for the other cells.

To make the entire process seamless, we will drag the dynamic formula we used in cell C3 down to other cells using Google Sheets auto-fill option.

The video below provides better clarification on how to approach that:

**Note: **The running total updates automatically without needing to copy/paste formulas. This gives us a seamless dynamic tally as the dataset grows over time.

The only small drawback is needing to initially populate the full column. But the automation after is worth it.

## Dynamic Running Total with SUM Array

In the previous section we just wrapped up, we showed you how to calculate the dynamic running total using the basic Sum formula.

Now, we want to take things up a notch by leveraging the Sum formula with an array. This is going to follow the IF statement approach we used in the previous method.

We will use the following sample data to demonstrate how to go about it.

**Step 1: Choose an Empty Cell**

First things first, choose a blank cell in your spreadsheet. For our sample data, we are going to go with cell C2.

This is where the result of our first value will be generated.

**Step 2: Enter the Formula**

With the cell where you want the result of the first value generated selected, navigate to the formula bar and type in the following formula:

**=IF(B2<>””,SUM($B$2:B2),””)**

**Step 3: Hit Enter**

After executing the step we discussed above, simply press the Enter button on your keyboard. Google Sheets should generate the result of the first value in the selected cell.

Here is what ours looks like:

**Step 4: Calculate the Dynamic Running Total**

After finding the result of the first value, it’s time to find the dynamic running total.

To find the dynamic running total for our sample data, we will need to apply the following formula to cell C3.

**=IF(B3<>””,SUM($B$2:B3),””)**

**Step 5: Press Enter**

Now, that you have entered the formula exactly as we described above, simply press the Enter button to generate the dynamic running total in the selected cell.

Here is what we got with our sample data:

**Step 6: Generate the Results for the Other Cells**

From the previous step, you can see that we were able to calculate the dynamic running total for cell C3.

What this means is that we need to generate the result for the other cells.

But instead of doing it manually, which will end up wasting our time, we will simply drag the formula in cell C3 to the empty cells below that using the Google Sheets autofill option.

The video below should provide better insight on how to approach that:

Now, that’s how seamless it is to calculate dynamic running total in Google Sheets using the Sum formula with Array.

We understand that things can be a little tricky when you’re first starting out, but by following the steps we detailed, you should get a hang of how things work.

## FAQs for Calculating Google Sheets Running Total

### What is a running total in Sheets, and when would I use it?

A running total gives you a cumulative sum of numbers as you add more data. It’s useful for tracking totals over time, like expenses, revenue, etc, without manually updating totals.

### How do I calculate running totals for non-adjacent columns?

You can refer to non-adjacent columns in your SUM formula. For example, to sum Column A and C, use =SUM(A2:A,C2:C) after selecting both columns first as the range.

### Why does my running total formula show #REF! errors?

#REF errors happen if rows or columns are deleted, shifting cell references. Double check ranges refer to correct cells relative to formula cell.

### Can I restart a running total if I want separate group totals?

Yes. Simply start a new running total column and reference the subset of rows to restart totaling. Use tricks like conditional SUMIF formulas to tally logical groups separately.

### My total isn’t updating automatically. Why?

Make sure you filled the running total formula down the entire column using array/dynamic techniques covered. This pre-populates all cells to auto-update. If not done, totals won’t recalculate as more data comes in.

## Final Thoughts

After going through the different methods for calculating Google Sheets running total, you can see there are a few easy ways to accomplish this depending on your needs.

The basic SUM formula provides a simple starting point for getting a cumulative tally. While using arrays and dynamic formulas takes automation to the next level, giving you hands-free updating totals.

The key advantage of a running total is not needing to manually sum rows as your dataset grows. By letting Sheets formulas handle the math, you can focus on analyzing trends rather than calculating incremental sums.

So whether you want to track expenses, revenue, inventory counts, or any other accumulating metric – running totals have you covered. They ultimately enable better financial traceability, performance monitoring, and data-driven decision-making from your Sheets.

As you apply these techniques to your own projects, don’t hesitate to tweak formulas or add conditional formatting to customize views. The skills you’ve gained from today’s guide lay the foundation for advanced number crunching as your spreadsheets scale up.

**Note: **Remember, while running totals may seem like small pieces, they open up game-changing possibilities for managing key totals over time.

We hope today’s guide has helped you understood how to calculate Google Sheets running total.

In case you have any questions or need clarifications on any step you don’t understand, feel free to leave a comment, and we will be happy to help.