Using the SUBTOTAL Function

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 14, 2015)

One of the built-in functions provided with Excel is SUBTOTAL. This function is used automatically by Excel if you use the Subtotals option from the Data menu. If you learn to use the SUBTOTAL function by itself, however, you will find that it is very versatile and flexible. You can use it to procure more than just a simple subtotal, as the function name suggests.

The syntax for the SUBTOTAL function is as follows:

SUBTOTAL(function, refs)

In this syntax, the function is a value of 1 through 11, each representing a different way that SUBTOTAL can analyze your data. The settings have the following meanings:

Function Meaning
1 AVERAGE
2 COUNT
3 COUNTA
4 MAX
5 MIN
6 PRODUCT
7 STDEV
8 STDEVP
9 SUM
10 VAR
11 VARP

Notice that you are not limited to just totaling information; you can perform quite a few different calculations on your data. The function settings refer to different Excel functions (AVERAGE, COUNT, etc.) that are used, in turn, by the SUBTOTAL function.

The refs setting in SUBTOTAL means the cells or cell ranges to which the SUBTOTAL function should be applied. You can separate individual cell references by commas, and you can include up to 29 references (if desired).

The beauty of the SUBTOTAL function is that it ignores any other occurrence of the SUBTOTAL function in a range. Thus, if you used SUBTOTAL at the bottom of a column of values, and there were three other instances of SUBTOTAL in that column, the bottom SUBTOTAL would ignore the other three.

Another neat feature of SUBTOTAL is that it only works with displayed data. Thus, if you had some rows hidden or filtered rows, those are ignored in the calculation.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2048) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning On Picture Placeholders

Displaying graphics in a document requires a great deal more computer processing than displaying simple text. A document that ...

Discover More

Changing Font Face and Size Conditionally

Conditional formatting does not allow you to change the typeface and font size used in a cell. You can write your own macro ...

Discover More

Automatically Selecting Words

When editing a document, Word normally selects entire words as you use the mouse to select text. This tip explains why this ...

Discover More

Professional Development Guidance! Four world-class developers offer start-to-finish guidance for building powerful, robust, and secure applications with Excel. The authors show how to consistently make the right design decisions and make the most of Excel's powerful features. Check out Professional Excel Development today!

MORE EXCELTIPS (MENU)

Rounding to the Nearest $50

When preparing financial reports, it may make your data easier to understand if you round it to the nearest multiple, such as ...

Discover More

Using the ABS Function

Need to find the absolute value of a number? That's where the ABS function comes into play.

Discover More

Selective Summing

If you want to add up the contents of a range of cells based on what is contained in a different range of cells, you need the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 8?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing
Share